Words of Hope: Perfectly Teachable

After watching thousands of athletes at NBC Camps, Dad said the two most dangerous emotions which hurt any athlete are arrogance and fear. Those emotions are the opposite of humility. Insolent athletes think they know it all; timid athletes are too constricted to receive teaching/mentoring. When my ego is too big, I cannot learn from others. If I must be “perfect,” then my children, home, or work have to be “perfect” to match my expectations. This can cause anger, division, and frustration. I can be easily blinded to struggles or imperfections that do not confirm my vision for my life. Ego keeps us in this fantasy of perfection.

Dad understood the importance of humility. Humility demonstrates the willingness to receive help, training, and counsel from someone else. One coach at camp suggested another word for a humble person is a person who is teachable.  

The word “humble” comes from the Latin, “down to earth.” As C.S. Lewis wrote, “Humility isn’t thinking less of yourself, it is thinking of yourself less.” 

Here are a few simple tests for humility Dad liked to use:

● Am I teachable—would my family members say I am teachable?

● Can I take responsibility without blaming myself or others—do my family members say I take responsibility? 

● How well do I listen—how well do my family members say I listen? 

Dad did a remarkable job of always pairing his assessment of himself with the crucial evaluation of the beloved others in his life. Dad didn’t call himself a good listener until my mom confirmed he was a good listener. This is the trait of the humble. 

“Young men, in the same way, be submissive to those who are older. All of you clothe yourselves with humility for God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble. Humble yourselves therefore under God’s mighty hand, casting all your cares on Him because He cares for you.” – 1 Peter 5 5-7