“A great man is always willing to be little.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

We can all agree that teaching kids how to be self-confident is one of the most important tasks a parent can have. However, confidence is not the same as arrogance, and arrogance leads to total disregard for other people’s opinions, ungratefulness, materialism and selfishness. When we notice that kind of behavior in our kids, it is time to add a dose of modesty to that equation. Teaching the kids to be modest will not diminish their confidence. On the contrary, it will give them a perspective about what true confidence is.

Teach by Example

The simplest way the kids are acquiring new knowledge is for them to see their parents practicing it. Show them, on a daily basis, that you are not putting an emphasis on what you have, how you look or what you have done. Focus on the work itself, and don’t expect to get credit for it every time. For example, if you have made cookies for the guests, don’t just say “I baked cookies”. Give credit to all that participated. Say “Daddy went to the store to buy chocolate. Hannah cleaned the strawberries.”

Put Pride Aside

There’s nothing wrong with feeling pride in a job well done, and kids deserve to have that feel of accomplishment. However, pride can sometimes stand in the way of making peace with someone, admitting mistakes and being nice to someone. That’s why they need to learn when pride is a good thing, and when is it just an obstacle. This is another lesson they can learn from your example.

The Importance of Helping Others

Being modest means being aware of your position and understanding that there are many other people who are less fortunate. Doing a service to those people is a sign of strength and humility, and not weakness. Start volunteering at a hospital, soup kitchen or a nursing home (they can talk and read to senior citizens). Make sure you explain to them that it takes a certain dose of sensitivity when working with marginalized groups, though.

Being Frugal in a Material World

Learning how to spend money more responsibly is in direct correlation with helping others. If the kids are aware that there are people without food on the table, they will be less hasty to spend hundreds of dollars on the latest gadget. Start teaching them the importance of saving from their early days by buying discount clothing for toddlers online, and they will learn a valuable lesson about wise financial management.

Respect for Everyone

Respect and realization that they are not by any means born better than any other child on this planet are crucial when it comes to humility. Of course, your children are special to you, but when observing on a global scale, they are not above the ones born in Africa, Asia or Eastern Europe. Show them how kids in other parts of the planet live, help them find a pen-pal from Egypt, Nepal, Peru, or any other country they find interesting, and they learn to respect differences in culture early on.

Learning through Games and Activities

Being humble is a complex set of qualities and skills that can be encouraged through various activities and games:

  • Cooperative play is focused on providing fun, but, at the same time it puts the “winning” part aside, thus promoting humility. Some fun games to play are “Continuous Story”, “Sardines” and “Rigmarole”.
  • Role-Play is perfect for smaller kids but if you’re imaginative enough, you can motivate the school-age kids to play it too. You can “turn” them into a crew of a spaceship where everyone has to work together to keep the ship functional.
  • Team sports are played with winning in mind, but they still foster unity, friendship and respect within the team. Also, the kids can learn to lose with dignity, which is a good thing.

A confident person, who is at the same time humble, will have no problem reaching their life goals by using appropriate means without cheating, lying and hurting others. What more could we wish for our kids?