I love that my kids are confident. I love that they’re kind and they’re successful. But it’s important through all of it to keep them humble. I saw this come across my social media feeds, and it triggered a few feelings about staying humble and teaching our kids the same—especially these days with positive parenting. Of course, we want to be gentle and positive parents, but too much telling them they’re brilliant isn’t positive, because are they? Or are they just the same as everyone else, no better- no worse, just different.
I don’t think we have to make our kids feel like they are the most extraordinary creatures that ever existed. Instead, we should have conversations and show that we value them for who they are and what they’re passionate about. But, again, it doesn’t have to be spectacular. They are just humans – as incredible and, at times, less than exciting as being a human can be.
It reminds me of something my Grandma said to all of us. Grandma was supportive and wanted us all to be confident yet humble. One of her regular expressions was “you’re as good as the rest of them and better than none.” It was powerful. We are worthy and smart and special. But so is everyone else.
The best gift you can give
I have a distinct memory of feeling like my dad didn’t give me due credit and praise. I was finishing high school, and we were at my commencement ceremony. My peers had voted me Valedictorian. My speech was greeted with a standing ovation. As I crossed the stage to get my high school diploma, it was announced that I was awarded many things – scholarships, awards, and plaques. I looked out to the crowd and saw my dad’s face. He was beaming and had his little subtle smile. Afterward, my dad was weighed down during the social gathering, carrying all of my awards and achievements. I knew he was proud of me, but he didn’t say it. A couple of days later, I called him on it. I asked why he didn’t tell me I had done well and was proud of me. He said this: “Jules, you know I’m proud of you. But the best gift I can give a kid like you is to keep you humble. That is my goal as the parent of you”. It made sense to me, even as a teenager.
Our society rewards certain achievements. I have benefitted from that. As the parent of several kids who are exceptional in ways that are not always awarded, their achievements are just as meaningful. Remind your kids of that.
How do you tell your kids they are awesome, while keeping them humble?