Sunday, January 23, 2011

Teaching Humility

My 11 year old son is a hockey star. This isn't my opinion; it is the opinion of others. I don't know the first things about judging hockey skill. The puck in the net skill is apparent, but my eyes are not skilled to see any of the other necessary skills.

In the past month he was selected to be on two All-Star teams. One is a local tournament team and the other is Team NH for 99's (their birth year). He will be representing our state for his division in a New England tournament. It is such an honor and he should be very proud of this accompishment. But there is a fine line. A line I am not sure how to teach and after reading the definitions of the word humble and proud, I am even more unclear about this very fine line.

hum·ble –adjective
1. not proud or arrogant; modest: to be humble although successful.
2. having a feeling of insignificance, inferiority, subservience, etc.: In the presence of so many world-famous writers I felt very humble.

proud  –adjective
1. feeling pleasure or satisfaction over something regarded as highly honorable or creditable to oneself (often fol. by of, an infinitive, or a clause).
2. having, proceeding from, or showing a high opinion of one's own dignity, importance, or superiority.
3. having or showing self-respect or self-esteem.

I want him to have a

feeling of pleasure or satistaction over something

It is a big deal to be selected for these prestigious teams; but more than proud, I want him to feel humble -

not proud or arrogant; modest.

How can you teach modesty without taking away from the moment? My husband and I don't make a "big" deal out of these accomplishments, because of the fear of arrogance. My son knows he is good and he should be proud, right?

I explained to him that being selected for these teams brought glory, but also gave him a lot of responsibility. The responsibility to act accordingly; to be respectful and to act like an All Star. Being an All Star means portraying humility. Still, I don't think he got it. I don't know how to teach this lesson.

As a child my accomplishments were not celebrated. Being the youngest of 10 and having older parents, there wasn't a lot of praise when it came to me. It was okay, but now I don't know how to teach this lesson; make my son proud and humble. Any suggestions?

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