Humility

 

Developing a Humble Attitude

A mother who attended a recent presentation during which I described the differences between high self-esteem and humility writes asking “What should my husband and I be doing to help our children develop humble hearts?”

Before I answer her question, I need to point out two things: First, humility was the cultural ideal up until the late 1960s, at which point self-esteem theory began to hold sway. Second, the research is clear that people who possess high self-esteem do not have good emotional coping skills, are highly prone to regular episodes of depression, and tend toward sociopathy. And that’s just the short list. For more on that, Google the work of researchers Roy Baumeister and Jean Twenge.

People who know nothing of the research, when I ask if they’d rather live next door to a person with high self-esteem or a person who is humble and modest, answer the latter. No one given that choice has ever chosen the former, proving my general contention that common-sense and social science research generally line up.

A good number of people equate humility and modesty with shyness, but that’s an error. Humility is simply an attitude of service. The humble person looks for opportunities to be of service to others, from opening doors to volunteering in charitable activities. A person with high self-esteem, which is an entitlement mentality, walks through the opened door without saying “Thank you.”

I gave the above mom the following five tips for assisting her children toward developing a humble social attitude:

1. Train children to serve by assigning them to unpaid chores in and around the home. It is axiomatic, as our fore-parents used to say, that good citizenship begins in the home. Chores should begin at age 3 and increase steadily from there.
2. Train children to pay attention to the needs of others by teaching proper manners. The social graces consist of small, gentle acts that acknowledge respect for others; thus, the gentleman and gentlewoman.
3. When kids act “full of themselves”-when they brag about their accomplishments for example-let them know that boasting is disrespectful of those who may have tried as hard but did not do as well; that it is an example of bad manners.
4. When a child does well academically, artistically, or athletically, low-key praise is certainly appropriate, but consider coupling it with words that cause the child to begin thinking of ways he can use his gifts to better the lives of others.
5. Be a good role model and mentor of humility. Show your kids what being a good neighbor is all about. Be helpful toward those in need and adversity. Make volunteerism a visible aspect of your life and the life of your family.

Because, to paraphrase the inimitable Forrest Gump, humility is as humility does.

JOHN ROSEMOND

Joey Bag o’Donuts

St. Francis of Assisi said, “It’s no use walking anywhere to preach unless our walking is our preaching.”

Joey Bag o’Donuts

I admit it. Even though I write about characters who share perfect messages I am far from perfect. I wish I was but I am a flawed human being. I don’t drink, do drugs (never have), smoke or gamble. I’m faithful to my wife and try to be the best father and person I can be but there are times I fall short.

Just ask the parents of the girls on my daughter’s lacrosse team. Sometimes I got emotional at the games and yelled at the refs when they made bad calls. I’m not proud of it and knew it was wrong but in the heat of the moment the situation got the best of me. I’m sure the parents were thinking “and this guy writes about positivity?” I apologized to them and said sometimes my alter ego “Joey Bag o’Donuts” shows up. It became a running joke. I vowed silence at some games and the parents asked “where’s Joey?” I said, “He wasn’t allowed to come tonight.” Other times after a horrendous call, where my daughter was slammed with a lacrosse stick, I would blurt out something and they said, “Joey is in the house!”

I’m not naturally a positive person. People think I am because of the books I write. I have to work really hard at staying positive. But I think it’s made me a good teacher because I am a student first who teaches what I have learned and continue to learn on my journey. If you like my books, please know I could have never written The Energy Bus if my life wasn’t falling apart before I wrote it. George was based on me. So I’m thankful I was a mess so I could then write a message to help others.

I’ve had people tell me that they expect me to be perfect because they love my books and, truth be told, I hate when I let them down. I know the best way to teach is to model it which is why I continuously strive to improve. My wife will attest I’m not the same man I was when I first started writing. I’m more patient, loving, kind and giving. Not all the time. But most of the time.

St. Francis of Assisi said, “It’s no use walking anywhere to preach unless our walking is our preaching.” I want my walking and preaching to be one in the same. That’s why I’m sharing this with you.

Some said I should create an alter ego Joey Bag o’Donuts Twitter account. But I don’t want to add more negativity in the world. There’s enough of that. I want to share the best of me, not the worst. My writing represents the best of me and I feel like my life is about being the person I am when I am writing. It’s about living the message I write about. That’s who I strive to be.

How about you?

Maybe you don’t yell at refs but I’m sure there’s something you are not proud of. I’m sure you fall short of perfection. We all do. The good news is you can change and strive to become the best version of yourself. No matter what you have done in the past I believe in second chances. I believe in a growth mindset. I believe forgiveness is the ultimate weight loss. I believe people can change for the better. I believe you can start right now.

There are perfect messages but not perfect people. Our goal should be to live the message as much and as often as possible. When we fall short let’s admit it, learn from it and get better because of it.

Reblogged from Jon Gordon Newsletter

Because I Said So.

            “Because I said so” is nothing more than an affirmation of the legitimacy of the authority of the parent in question. The parent is an adult; the child is not. The child is completely dependent upon the parent for his or her very survival. The parent would take a bullet for the child; the likelihood that the child would take a bullet for the parent is slim to none. For those reasons, the parent’s authority over the child is legitimate.

            And for all those reasons, the parent is under no obligation to justify any decision made concerning or any instruction he or she gives the child. As I used to tell my kids, ” Your mother and I pay for your lives. You pay nothing. We are responsible for you. You are not responsible for us. With those facts in mind, the arrangement here is very simple: We make decisions and give you instructions. You abide by and obey those decisions and instructions; and the reason you abide and obey is because we said so.”

Why-Because-I-Said-So_o_12600

Anger Issues

Q:        Our 14-year-old daughter has difficulty controlling her anger. She has extreme outbursts fairly frequently here at home-screaming, cursing, and even throwing things when she doesn’t get her way. She appears to have no respect for us and very little consideration for her two younger siblings. At school and in other people’s homes, however, she’s a model citizen. She’s a straight-A student about whom all of her teachers have nothing but praise. When I describe her outbursts to friends and family, they are disbelieving. Is it too late to do anything about her anger issue?

 

A:        I flunked fortune telling in graduate school, so the answer to your question is “I don’t know.” Nonetheless, it’s certainly worth a good try.

            You’ve told me enough to know that what you’re describing is not an “anger issue.” Rather, it’s an issue of narcissistic disrespect and ingratitude. Mind you, today’s kids come by the latter fairly easily. Generally speaking, their parents give them entirely too much. In the vernacular of an earlier parenting era, all too many of today’s kids seem to think that money grows on trees (or in their parents’ wallets and pocketbooks). The completely unnecessary personal smart phone at age 10 is the emblem of this ubiquitous over-indulgence.

            It’s a short hop from over-indulged to disrespectful. Entitlements and respect for the source of said entitlements are incompatible. More often than not, entitlements engender an “I deserve” attitude. When the entitlers are parents, the outcome is likely to be as you describe: thanklessness, demands, and rages when demands are not met.

            In short, a problem of this sort does not arise independent of a certain set of home-based circumstances. If you’re going to solve this problem you will first need to accept that you provided the medium in which it developed. In that regard, the question becomes, “Are you willing to radically change your ways?”

            Your daughter probably believes that exemplary grades and behavior outside the home place her beyond the reach of consequences. You need to demonstrate the fallacy in her thinking. Do so by removing from her room all possessions save essential clothing and school supplies. Box them up and put them in a storage facility. Cancel her cell phone contract. If she has a computer in her room, move it to a common area.

            Do the above when she’s at school. When she comes home and asks for an explanation, tell her that her disruptions and disrespect will no longer be tolerated; that when she has been disruption- and disrespect free for a continuous 30-day period, her possessions will be returned with the understanding that if she backslides, her next rehabilitation period will jump to 60 days. If, during said 30 days, she has an “incident,” the 30 days begins over again the following day. When her rehab is complete, however, things must not go back to “normal.” You have to change your indulgent ways as well or a relapse is inevitable.

            You can do this. Just keep Admiral David Farragut’s famous order in mind: “Damn the torpedoes! Full speed ahead!” The Very Essence of Effective Discipline             

             Two months ago, I conducted a two-day small-group “parent retreat” during which I talked about, among other things, the legitimacy and power of “because I said so.” One of my missions is to promote the restoration of the attitude that accompanies the calm, straightforward (the operative conditions) delivery of that traditional parenting aphorism. Why? Because it is the very essence of effective discipline, that’s why.

            “Because I said so” is nothing more than an affirmation of the legitimacy of the authority of the parent in question. The parent is an adult; the child is not. The child is completely dependent upon the parent for his or her very survival. The parent would take a bullet for the child; the likelihood that the child would take a bullet for the parent is slim to none. For those reasons, the parent’s authority over the child is legitimate.

            And for all those reasons, the parent is under no obligation to justify any decision made concerning or any instruction he or she gives the child. As I used to tell my kids, ” Your mother and I pay for your lives. You pay nothing. We are responsible for you. You are not responsible for us. With those facts in mind, the arrangement here is very simple: We make decisions and give you instructions. You abide by and obey those decisions and instructions; and the reason you abide and obey is because we said so.”

            Neither of our kids ever had to see a therapist. They made good grades in school (and my wife and I did not help with homework or science projects). They made good social choices, never got in serious trouble, and were completely self-supporting by their mid-20s. “Because I said so” does not seem to have been traumatic.

            Beginning in the mid-1960s, child psychologists and other mental health professionals began claiming that those four words had a problematic effect on children. They robbed children of autonomy, denied their ability to think intelligently, lowered self-esteem, and blah blah blah. Said professionals had no evidence to support any of this. They made it all up. Nonetheless, American parents, having no reason to know that people with impressive credentials sometimes make things up (a mental health tradition stretching back to Freud himself), believed them and began giving children reasons. Since then, arrogant disobedience, once rare, is now legion.

            For example, consider one of the couples who attended the above retreat. They were desperate (no exaggeration there) for advice concerning their very disobedient and disrespectful 5-year-old daughter. The parents thought that by giving reasons for their instructions and decisions they were showing respect for her intelligence. The child, however, had no use for her parents’ respect.

            The parents took in every word I said, but paid special attention to my mini-seminar on “because I said so.” I received a progress report from them the other day. “(Name of daughter withheld to protect the guilty) is much better,” they wrote. “The other day, for example, we told her to do something, to which she asked ‘why?’ Before one of us could answer, she said, ‘Wait, don’t tell me; because you say so.'”

            Once again, proof positive that this parenting thing is really quite simple.

 

reblogged from John Rosemond’s newsletter.