Many of us really enjoy using word such as “respect,” “honesty” and “teamwork” around kids, especially, when they are misbehaving. “You need to be more respectful” or “you better be honest with me” or “learn how to be a team-player” are all phrases that we commonly hear in most of our homes. Although this may seem like a good thing, it is actually lacking a very important ingredient.
We all can say nice phrases like the ones listed here but they mean nothing to a child unless we explain their meaning to him or her. Before you say “I already do that,” I want to share with you one of the most common responses mentors hear in the public high schools when they talk about humility: “humility is what happens when someone puts you down” or “humility is like being embarrassed”. The reason even some high schoolers have a hard time explaining what the word humility means is because no one took the time to explain that important principle to them.
Universal ethical principles such as “respect,” “integrity,” “humility,” “honor” and many more can only be useful to a child or young person when those words have been taught in the context of a healthy relationship between an adult and a child. Time when a child is misbehaving is not the right time to start teaching about the principle of respect, rather, it is time for proper discipline. However, when we are spending time with kids, we ought to sit down with them and explain what principles really mean.
P.S. Just in case, “humility” is the attitude of being humble and having a modest estimate of one’s own importance.