Week 12 - HumilityBy Jeff Bryan
The American Dream means giving it your all, trying your hardest, accomplishing something. And then I’d add to that, giving something back. No definition of a successful life can do anything but include serving others.
-President George H.W. Bush
For an overview of each weekly slide presentation, please skip below to your specific grade level.
To see the 1-page Humility Character Card and share it with your students’ families, click here.
For the P2 Reflection Journals, used by all elementary students at the end of the week, click here.
Starting Monday, students are learning about humility. Humble people have an accurate (not underestimated) sense of their abilities and achievements. They hold the capacity to acknowledge their mistakes and limitations, and are open to advice and new ideas. They do not show off their possessions or accomplishments.
Humility and modesty are often characterized as synonymous with shy or meek. This is false. True humility is a sign of strength; it is a quiet confidence in who you are. It requires an honest self-reflection on your strengths and weaknesses, and self-control over ego, arrogance, and vanity. It encapsulates a person’s feelings, thoughts, and actions. It includes resistance to false modesty or the “humble brag.”
This week’s character strength example is President George H.W. Bush. President Bush, who passed away last week, also served the nation as a Navy pilot during World War II, Ambassador to the United Nations, U.S. Liaison to China, Director of Central Intelligence, and Vice President of the United States.
General Colin Powell, who served as President Bush’s Chairman of the Joint Chief of Staff, explained that his humility played a key role in a peaceful and stable conclusion to the Cold War. As General Powell explained, “That’s who he was. He was like that with everybody. That humility, that humbleness, that, don’t take myself so seriously. I am the president, but I’m just one person. And I’m privileged to be in this position and privileged to be able to serve the American people and serve the cause of peace, justice around the world. And history has given me the opportunity to create a new environment, a new world order, and people respecting one another.”
So, why does humility matter?
Developing humility is associated with positive developmental outcomes in individuals. It allows a person to honestly reflect on their abilities and acknowledge how and where they can improve. Humility opens them up to new ideas, advice, and (consequently) abilities that pride, arrogance, or pretentiousness often block. Therefore, humility makes them desired members of a team.
American society has overemphasized individual self-esteem to the point that narcissism is up 30% since the early 1980s. Narcissism, a fragile and defensive variety of self-esteem, is correlated with feelings of entitlement and a belief that all one’s failures are a result of external factors. This increased focus on self and decreased focus on others is harmful to group cohesion and success. Humility, then, is vital to team, community, and societal achievement. Humble groups, composed of humble people, do what’s necessary without making a big deal of it; always remaining focused on what’s next.
And, as a reminder, you can find all of our weekly slide presentations on our website’s Resources page here. This page is the place that we recommend you go to access all of the resources — not via Google Drive folders.
To find your grade level’s presentation, you can simply type the word “humility” into the Resource Title search bar or sort by Character Strength and select Humility. Each of those options will provide you with 10 slide presentations and one 1-page character card. For a simple overview of the Resources page, with pictures and videos, click here.