I will never forget when my first three boys were just toddlers, and older, wiser moms would tell me to “enjoy the simple days…” and how “meltdowns and potty training” are WAY easier than what we’ll face when they’re teenagers.”
I didn’t believe them for a second. Nothing could be harder than the tantrum-throwing, runny noses, nap-battling toddler years.
And frankly, I still feel that way. For me anyways, those were the hardest years. (I still have a three-year old in the house to remind me.)
But I do think of those words more often now, as we face the “bigger stuff:” Friendship issues, identity crises, fitting in (or not,) and even the occasional bully. These things may not test your patience like a toddler, but they sure can break your heart.
By God’s grace, I have a first born with wisdom beyond his years. He faces the same stuff as every other kid, and he isn’t perfect, but he has been blessed with an extraordinary perspective, and so far he has remained grounded.
So, as my next two boys have begun facing some of the typical challenges of adolescents, it is to son #1 that I turn. I have been studying that son of mine, and asking some questions to help me crack the code: What has been his secret weapon to transitioning to manhood (so far,) so well.
What I have come up with is a serious dose of character. He has guarded his eyes and his heart. He chooses friends carefully. He is self-controlled, and patient.
But perhaps one of the things that most stands out to me about this son of mine is his HUMILITY.
Humility is a trademark of a godly man. Every great leader that I can think of modeled humility. Most of all, Jesus was humble.
Humility is not thinking poorly of oneself. Instead, humility is NOT THINKING about ones self too much at all. Humility shows an interest in others. Humility never boasts. It has nothing to prove.
James 4:10 says “Humble yourself before the Lord and He will lift you up.”
When a kid grows up with a humble heart, he both pleases God, and avoids a lot of pitfalls.
If you are generally kind to others, and looking to elevate those around you, you are likable.…The bullies won’t have too much fun putting you down. (Of course they can still try, but they’ll give up when they see that it really isn’t fun.)
A humble kid may not be the most popular from the get-go…but give it some time, and he will rise to gain the respect and admiration of others. It is God’s way.
1 Peter 5:6 “Humble yourself under the mighty hand of God, and He will lift you up in due time.”
There are a couple things we can do to help cultivate a humble character in our children:
First, we need to model humility in our own life. Do our kids hear us talking more about ourselves or others? Do we come across selfish, or selfless? If we are others-focused, the same will be more likely to come natural to our children.
Second, we can talk to our kids about the character quality of humility, from a young age. We can encourage them to begin and end their days praying for others. We can help them find ways to serve others…to befriend a lonely kid at school, or to help people in need. Consistently focusing on God and others will begin to develop a heart of humility in your child. And the blessings will flow in many directions. Starting in their own heart.
Welcome to our new series for March 2014, What is a Man? You can come back to this page to find an ongoing list of all the posts in this series!