#048: How to Teach Children Humility

One day about a year ago... it was almost 2:30 pm, my then 10-month-old was about to get up from his nap anytime soon while my 2.5-year-old toddler was overdue for his nap.

I was in a rush trying to get applesauce made before the baby got up.
My toddler, being the independent "big boy" but wanted to help mommy with her food pouches, insisted on pushing the applesauce down through the tube and into those disposable baby food pouches.
As well intended as my toddler was, in my eyes he was slow, he was interrupting my workflow, he was in my way of getting things done fast.
The next thing I knew, he got applesauce everywhere.

By now, I'd had it.
I snapped, "Stop! Just stop! You are making a mess! You're not being helpful at all!"
My hardheaded 2.5-year-old yelled back, "NOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!! No!! No!!

Right then and there, I felt guilty. I felt convicted. I felt like a terrible mom.
Knowing I was in the wrong, there was only one thing I needed to do right now:
I needed to apologize to him.

Walk the Talk

If you ask a bunch of parents what characteristics they want their children to have, you'll probably get "humble" quite a bit. We don't want our children to be a group of prideful brats. We want them to live humbly.

The Bible teaches humility. God wants His children to be humble. Many times it appears in the Bible "humble yourself".

When pride comes, then comes disgrace,
but with the humble is wisdom.
— Proverbs 11:2
Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you.
— James 4:10
Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you,
— 1 Peter 5:6

It is clear that humility is a desired God-honoring characteristic. So how do we teach our children to be humble? Not just through reading them Scripture; not just through reading books about humility. Children learn humility best when they see it lived out by their parents.

We cannot teach our children about humility using our words but live a prideful life. That's hypocrisy. They need to see us messed up (because we will), see us acknowledge our sins and see us lay down our pride to own our mistakes.

Why? Because by laying down our pride, we are saying to God, "my pride does not belong on the throne - you do." When our children see that, they will also learn who truly belongs on the throne.

Parenting is a Two-Way Sanctification

As you raise up your children and teach them the way to go according to God's Truth, God is also sanctifying you.

I'll be honest. It's hard for me to admit to my 2-year-old I'm in the wrong. It hurts my pride. But that is exactly why I need to take this humble pie. God is using my children to make me more like Jesus. He uses them to stretch me, to make me more selfless, patient... and humble.

One of the greatest missions as a parent is to teach our children about God. By laying ourselves down and surrendering to God's authority and sovereignty in our own lives, we are giving our children the greatest lessons on how to live humbly for Him.

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Podcast music: Sunny Holidays & Summertime by Nicolai Heidlas