The Simplest Way I Know to Help Your Kids Start Cultivating a Spirit of Humility

Several weeks ago, we discussed the role humility plays in leading our kids with HEART. Real, sustainable leadership is always built on a solid foundation of humility and serving. As mentioned previously, humility is the direct result of choosing to shift one’s perspective from self-focused to others-focused. Being self-focused is, admittedly, not very hard. If left to my own devices, I can very quickly fall into the trap of thinking and worrying about ME. The discipline of being other-focused takes daily practice over time. Fortunately, there is a profoundly simple way to log the practice hours required.

Take the time to practice good manners…

Helping your children develop “good manners” is likely something you’ve already invested time into teaching them on some level. Who amongst us isn’t already aware of the fact that “please” and “thank you” are the “magic words.” However, good manners go far beyond merely using polite words, or refraining from speaking with a mouth full of food. Manners are powerful because they communicate an awareness of those around us and ascribe value to those people. Opening the door for another person is rarely required because that person is actually physically unable to open the door for themselves. We do it because it sends the message that we see and value people other than ourselves.

3 Critical Components of Manners

  1. Be Intentional: A well-known Jim Rohn quote states, “What is easy to do is also easy not to do.” This is definitely true with regard to the use of manners. In the busyness of day-to-day activities, it can be all too tempting to ignore those around us and focus on “more important things”. I encourage you to rise above that thinking. Being intentional and focusing on others is a choice.
  2. Create Focus: One strategy that I find helpful to redirect my mindfulness is to “personalize” the manners process. When we take our girls out to eat, we make efforts to become aware of who is taking care of our family. As we left our local Texas Roadhouse on a recent outing, we didn’t extend generic thanks to a faceless waitress. We extended our sincere appreciation to Savannah, the person who was taking time away from her family to serve ours. (For the record, she was awesome)
  3. Practice Consistency: Shifting your focus and awareness to those around you is a skill that must be practiced daily. Notes of appreciation, kind words, acts of service, and specific praise are all examples of things you can start doing to today to show those around you that they are valued.

A Call to Action

Please allow me to leave you with a specific application you can implement with your family and kids starting today. The next time you visit a local store, YMCA, church, school, etc., give your children a mission. Encourage them to find a worker or other person serving your family and have them extend a sincere thank you for the efforts. Preferably, they will work to identify someone who may often go unnoticed. This real world activity is a wonderful way to begin developing an awareness of others, and by extension, humility in your kids. As always, be the first to step up and model this behavior for your family as you continue to lead them well. Good luck!


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