As parents we want to raise our kids to be confident and self-aware. We are proud of their accomplishments and lavish praise on them constantly.
I think this is ingrained in our DNA because the need to praise starts early on. From the first time they pick up a cheerio with their own fingers - "Who's a clever girl then?" to taking their first steps "Mummy is so proud of you!" to using the toilet on their own "Aren't you a big girl using the potty all by yourself!"
And so on and so forth...
My oldest daughter is almost 9 and I realized recently that she really didn't know how to be humble. She had no idea that many of her comments made her sound arrogant and egotisitcal. She didn't know how to balance her pride with humility.
I thought to myself..."wow...someone really needs to teach this kid how to be humble..."
The a-ha moment was when I realized that abstract "someone" I was referring to...was me.
It turns out parenting isn't just about keeping them alive...it's about shaping them into real functioning members of society.
I often reflect back on when my girls were babies and how hard everything seemed. I couldn't leave the house without diapers and wipes and snacks and bottles...but often forgot my sanity. Lack of sleep made me grumpy and impatient. And baby brain made me stupid.
Now I realize that those first few years of parenting - when the focus in solely on the physiological needs like food and sleep and poop - were the easy ones. Because as they get older the focus shifts to emotional and mental well being.
I'd take a poopy diaper over a moody 9 year old any day.
But I digress...well really I distract...because faced with the task in front of me I'd rather be distracted.
How do I teach my kids to be humble while still making sure they are confident? How do I teach a balance of humility and pride?
In the end, I think the answer is simple. It is all about leading by example. And isn't that easier said than done...
And so I move forward as a parent knowing that my children will not just mimic my behaviour or words for a moment...but for a lifetime. And that even though many others will have impact on their lives and their actions...I will have the biggest one.
It's up to me to make it a good one...