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I feel that my kids, after some persuasion, are capable when it comes to schoolwork, homework and other such skills.

We have always identified good behaviour and let our son know when he has done something goood or bad. I have seen that he responds this and it improves his behaviour.

I worry that these days schools focus on technical skills, advanced courses, and general good behaviour. However, they tend to pay less attention to being humble. How do children learn humility? Or is this something that can only be taught through experience?

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Hi Dipan, I've tried to improve the English of your question, if you feel I've altered the sense of the question, please feel free to revert or fix my changes. –  deworde Feb 9 '12 at 10:25
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3 Answers

Another thing to consider is not focusing on how great they are at school, but rather focus on kindness and the like. As well, don't talk about how smart your child is in front of them, if you are bragging about your child, so will your child.

I have seen this in action, as my daughter who is well ahead of her class in both reading and math doesn't even think about it. She is friends with everyone, no matter her level, and understands that everyone learns differently and at different speeds. On the other hand my nephew, who my sister is constently telling how smart he is, brags all the time.

If you are humble your child will be humble. It is difficult as you are so proud of your child you want to share, however, as you seem to realize, humility is more important.

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It depends on what you mean by humility.

The definition I'm using here is basically "respect for the abilities of others and willingness to accept that just because you aren't good at something doesn't mean it's worthless". This distinguishes from related qualities such as obedience, and allows them to still recognise their own strengths.

As you've identified, this is normally more of an issue among children who are used to excelling in the fields that are valued within their social groups or authority structures, which can lead them to dismiss those values. (For example, intellectuals who dismiss the tremendous amount of work it takes to become genuinely good at sport, and vice versa).

For example, school is designed to emphasise and test two particular measurable skill sets (intellectual and sporting), and in some cases, streams those who excel in those fields, so that they focus on their strong area, and avoid their weaker areas.

One thing that can help is to get your kids more involved in co-operative team activities that require many different skill sets, such as volunteering or drama. This allows them to demonstrate their own competencies, but also exposes them to people who have focused on something completely different, that is nevertheless valuable.

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IMHO this is one of the things you can't teach to your children - you can only live it. You are a role model for your kids (up to a certain age). If you are genuinely humble, they will internalize that. Even though they may behave differently (or even the completely opposite way) during their adolescent years, to explore their boundaries and "free" themselves, they will most likely return to the fundamental values as an adult.

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