What is humility, and why is it such a valuable attribute to have?

Ralph Waldo Emerson said “A great man is always willing to be little.” He was referring to humility, the quality or condition of being humble, and of having a modest opinion or estimate of one’s importance, rank, etc. Humility is a really valuable for children to learn as it helps them to face challenges with compassion and strength.

In humility comes strength

A humble child can appreciate their strengths without boasting about them, and can recognize their limitations without feeling inferior. Humility enables us to respect others without ceasing to respect ourselves. It carries an inner conviction that we do not need to be perfect to be valuable. This understanding protects us from expecting perfection in ourselves or in others.

Is humility the same as inferiority, or unworthiness?

No. Some people think humility means acting as if we were worth less than others, as if we were not important, or as if our achievements were without merit. From this perspective there is a tendency to reject applause and recognition. Low self-esteem, or a sense of social unworthiness, can lead to compliments feeling undeserved; praise and recognition can be hard for a person with low self esteem to hear and take in. Added to this, the word humble can be used to mean poor or lowly, so humility is often negatively construed to mean inferiority.

Genuine self-confidence

The type of humility we want to encourage is the virtue of being modest, of being quietly and realistically confident. People with a positive sense of humility don’t boast about what they know or who they are. They don’t feel the need to compare themselves to others, or to rank people as superior or inferior. They also don’t pretend to be something they’re not, because, quite simply, they know that it’s not necessary.

“To share your weakness is to make yourself vulnerable; and to make yourself vulnerable is to show your strength.” Criss Jami.


How do I nurture a sense of humility?

Please read on…Storyberries offers free children’s books, and tips for parents, to guide children towards a sense of humility.

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Listening with genuine interest

Every human being has a story to tell; teaching children to both open up and tell their own stories, and to listen respectfully to others, encourages the growth of wisdom, compassion, empathy and humility.
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Showing respect

We can encourage our children to be tolerant and to accept people just as they are, by using a positive mantra such as “I respect myself, I respect you.” A genuinely humble person recognises that all people deserve respect. We can also help our children by appreciating the lifestyles of children from other countries or cultural backgrounds, and help our own kids to see that although their lives may be different, they are all children facing similar issues and equally worthy of respect.
Where is Thabo free childrens football book

Results are not everything

In sports and group games, we can celebrate winning without ridiculing or laughing at those who lose. The best sportspeople learn to accept defeat calmly. Mother Teresa of Calcutta used to say that we need to learn to accept contradictions and criticism cheerfully, and to be kind and gentle even under provocation.
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We learn through making mistakes

We are all human beings, and as such make many mistakes. Sometimes we overprotect our children, not wanting them to feel any pain or sorrow: Instead, it is more helpful to support children through their pain so they can build strong coping skills. When children aren’t fearful of making mistakes or of being compared unfavourably with others, they enjoy their activities and being sociable much more.
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Helping others

We can enjoy participating in activities that help others, such as picking up litter at a park, a beach or an area of roadside; volunteering in a school or hospital; or mowing a neighbour’s lawn. We can help our kids to explore their interests and get a real sense of what they love, so they can develop skills to help others in ways they most enjoy.


Some Free Books About Humility At Storyberries

Best free books at Storyberries
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Kidnapped to Planet G!

In this exciting comic-style adventure story, Archie is kidnapped by an alien to save Planet G. Instead of being boastful about being specially chosen, Archie acts with real humility, and in doing so makes some super new friends!
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The Fairy Garden

A beautiful story about a young girl who discovers fairies at the bottom of her garden, and leaves gifts for them to show her appreciation. A super book for discussing ways in which humility and appreciation for others go hand-in-hand.
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The Fair With Golden Hair

A wonderful fairy tale for discussing the themes of humility and service to others, through discussion of the different characters in the story.


Article by Luzmery M. Romero Gamboa and Fleur Rodgers

Luzmery Child Psychologist Storyberries

Luzmery works in the area of clinical psychology as a psychotherapist for children, adolescents and families. Since 2016, she has run a Psychological Center in Venezuela called Psicoluz. She offers workshop facilitations to parents, is involved in recreational activities for children, and has been working as a freelancer since 2017 performing online psychotherapy. 

Storyberries parenting portal author and mindfulness coach Fleur Rodgers

Fleur is a meditation teacher in France and uses a compassion and loving-kindness based approach to meditation and slow-minded living. Fleur posts regularly to Instagram @rodgers.fleur . She has two children, is a qualified teacher in adult education and is the founder of Timeouttobreathe.com