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Teaching Humility and Compassion

Posted by on October 30, 2012

Courtesy photostock

We had a joyous moment around here on Friday. The list of players for the hockey select team came out, and my younger daughter’s name was on it. Ever since we told her she couldn’t play travel hockey, this has been her goal.

The select team is like a mini travel team. They travel four or five weekends of the season, and all the travel is relatively close. It was a good compromise for our family, but she still had to make the team.

Honestly, I wasn’t sure she was going to make it, so we had her prepared for either possibility. When she saw the list, she was really excited. Then she looked at the list again and realized some of her friends didn’t make it.

It’s tough when the people that you love playing with who wanted the same thing you want don’t make the team. And it’s tough to teach a 9-year-old how to enjoy the moment but to have humility and compassion toward those who didn’t.

We wanted her to be excited. We wanted her to enjoy her accomplishment. But we also want her to have a humble heart. We want her to understand the feelings of those who didn’t make it.

Because the kids who didn’t make the team didn’t work any less hard than she did. They didn’t want it any less. There just weren’t enough spots on the team for everyone.

So, we asked our daughter to put herself in her friends’ shoes. We asked her to think about how she would feel. Then we asked her to decide how to treat her friends based on those criteria. We essentially asked her to live out the words of Philippians 2:3-4, “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.”

Humility and compassion are tough concepts to teach our kids. We have to constantly be watching for moments when we can encourage them to “walk a mile in another’s shoes.” We need to remind them even in the midst of some of their best moments that how they treat others in that moment is more important than the accomplishment.

Because in the end, their character is more important than whether they made the team.

Linking up today with Time-Warp Wife.

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