We all have things we are good at. Even at-risk students who might have a hard time identifying their strengths have gifts and abilities that are unique to them. However, there’s a temptation for all of us to become prideful and use our gifts to benefit ourselves.
However, those that go far in life realize the importance of using their strengths to help others, without needing the credit. In order to really make a difference in this life, we need humility. People who are humble know who they are, know what they‘re good at, and use what they‘re good at to help others without needing the credit.
At Teach One to Lead One, that’s our M.O. for humility: use your strengths to help others.
An exercise to instill humility in the lives of your mentees
It can be difficult for a student to understand what it means to live with humility, especially if they’ve never seen it modeled. As a way to teaches our T1L1 students about the important life principle, we encourage all of our mentors to give their students a simple exercise.
We ask the students to write notes of encouragement to someone that has made a difference in their life. If they’re in school, we encourage them to write it to a teacher. If they are not in school, we have them write a note to a family member or friend.
We tell students that this note could thank a person for something specific they‘ve done or encourage them in some specific way. Because this is done out of humility, We don’t have students sign their names. We want to encourage them to do it out of humility rather than looking for something in return. Instead, we have the students use a generic signature like, ― “Sincerely, a student‘s life you‘ve touched!” or something similar.
What kind of impact does this make?
Each time we encourage mentors to complete this exercise, we get incredible feedback from both students and teachers. For many students, this might be the first time they’ve ever expressed a random act of kindness. They’re able to see the difference they can make by recognizing the value of someone else. For teachers, it’s a great source of encouragement despite the challenges and obstacles they face.
In the end, this small exercise makes a huge difference in the lives of our students, but also in the lives of their teachers… and isn’t that what humility is all about?