The lesson unfolded like this:
I was driving behind this Porsche, as we began a long ascent up the mountain road near my home, I thought to myself, “Why on earth is he ONLY going 45 miles per hour if he’s driving a PORSCHE?”
So, I proceeded to push my SUV’s pedal to the metal and passed by that Porsche. After I raced by him, I had a humbling thought, “I guess he has nothing to prove with his Porsche.” I, on the other hand, always have something to prove on the road. When I’m driving our 7-year-old Volvo, which has Turbo, I’m actually mildly offended when someone passes me. I think, “Don’t they know how powerful my car is?” So, I quickly prove it to them… by one-upping them in the passing department.
After I passed the nothing-to-prove Porsche, I realized something. I was more impressed with the Porsche driver because he chose not to show off his sports car engine… more impressed than I would have been if he’d chosen to show it off by racing up the mountain. And then, I realized something bigger… a metaphor for life.
When we excel at something and choose to show it off by announcing it (verbally or behaviorally), we are actually less impressive in our excellence than if we say nothing at all… and just cruise in the slow lane… until we need to use that power for something more valuable than boasting.
So… how does this lesson translate to parenting?
Well, first of all, don’t make a habit of passing Porsches on mountain roads (with kids in the car) if you want your children to grow up to be safe drivers. Or, if you want your kids to grow up at all.
Second, there are several things you can do to teach your children to exhibit (and live) the humility of my sports-car-driving-friend:
1) Remind your kids that Jesus was the most powerful and intelligent person who ever lived, yet He lay all of that down for us. His humility provided for the most valuable thing a person could ask for — eternal life (Philippians 2:8).
2) Explain to your children that, “Every good and perfect gift is from above” (James 1:17). Their intelligence, athleticism, good looks, sense of humor, work ethic, musical ability — whatever thing they excel in — has origins that can be traced back to Him. They did not secure these attributes on their own. This helps instill a sense of gratitude more than pride. Their gifts and talents should be used for the benefit of the world, but with a cloak of humility.
3) Humility invites the ability to bless and be blessed (Matthew 5:5). I’ve noticed I’m more likely to seek help from a person, who doesn’t hide his or her faults. Likewise, I’ve noticed people are more likely to receive help from me if I don’t hide my own imperfections. We’re more able to bless others from a position of humility. And.. in the end, most kids want to be a blessing.
God taught me a lot about humility the day I passed that Porsche.
How do you train your kids to embrace and live the characteristic of humility instead of pride?
By Jenny Dean Schmidt
Wife of Mike
Mother of two teenagers, Otis and Georgia
1 Corinthians 13 Team Member
Executive Director, ChannelMom Media & Outreach and Host of ChannelMom Radio on 94.7 KRKS FM in Denver and also at channelmom.com.