What Does Humble Look Like? (AKA – I Didn’t Build That)
Humbleness is the result of understanding that all we are and do is part of a master-plan. Not one of us is the ultimate architect, but each is a steward of all he has been given. All human achievements come not through the one person, but the efforts of those under that individual’s authority. All authority emanates from God any man must shoulder authority given to him with submissive obedience and self-sacrifice to his Creator.
Dying to Self.
Boys must learn that no matter what level of authority you give to them, success comes from their entire past, correct choices made in the matter at hand, and coordination with others to complete the task. They must be willing to do hard, thankless jobs just as well as the highly visible ones.
Make It Concrete, Not Abstract.
Try this exercise. Tailor it for the age of the boy and materials at hand. Gather your materials first.
Task: Ask your son to build a castle in ten minutes according to the standard below. (If you don’t have the right materials, have him complete a task for which you have the materials on hand).
Conditions: Place your son in the middle of a room without any tools, equipment, materials, cell phone or anything that would help him complete the task. He must finish without moving more than three feet from his position or by using any clothing he has on.
Standard: The completed castle should have at least one tower, four walls, a door, and be six inches tall.
Result: Probably failure. The boy cannot build a castle without the right materials and, depending on his age, without guidance and help from others.
Redo the Task.
As discussed last month, the “challenged boy determines why he failed, using that knowledge as a stepping-stone to get better results the next time. The parents’ support can foster this challenge-response in their boy.”
Did your boy solve the problem successfully the first time by asking you to provide him materials to build the castle (Legos, Lincoln Logs, or something else)? Did he ask for your assistance with materials?
If your son didn’t think to ask for help, the result may have been that he sat for ten minutes on the floor wondering what was the point of the task. Now is the time to show him how to accomplish the task by giving him the materials he needs and helping him build the castle.
Then test your son again. Pretend you are a reporter and ask him who built the castle. If he says, “I did,” ask him if he received any help. Then he may realize that he needs to thank others who contributed to the successful completion.
Take Charge—Recognize Others.
A tried and tested phrase in the military is, “when put in charge, take charge.” When someone provides the authority to your boy to take charge, encourage him take immediate action. First actions could include organization, gathering knowledge for the task, and determining the exact requirements.
When the task is complete, it’s time to recognize those who labored together to make the project or task a success. This is true of any task. Here is when you see whether a boy has learned to praise and give credit to others or if he wants the glory all to himself.
Even if your son recognizes someone else at the end of the task, did he make any sacrifices to complete the task himself?
Oswald Sanders makes it clear that personal sacrifice shows true humility. “The spiritual leader will choose the hidden pathway of sacrificial service and the approval of His Lord rather than the flamboyant assignment and the adulation of the unspiritual crowd.”
A Janitor’s Reward.
When I was young, my father trained me to be obedient, submissive to authority, and self-sacrificing. He taught me that Jesus laid down His supreme authority and dominion at the request of His Father in order to save mankind from their sins. And the task included dying for people who didn’t want to acknowledge His sacrifice for them.
When I worked as a janitor in a church while going to college, I thanked God for the opportunity to be able-bodied and serve Him in that way. God then opened the door for me to serve others as an officer in the military. I continue to praise Him for His grace and mercy as I led others and for all those who made the contributions in the military, Christian ministry, and family growth possible. You see, I didn’t build my success, God and others made it possible.
In either case, whether as a janitor or an officer, I did my best to do the work for the Lord, not just for my human bosses. (Colossians 3:23) Train your son with this in mind and he will excel as a humble leader.
A Humble Servant Is A Powerful Leader.
Take time with your son to review the life of Moses and David in the Bible. In most ways, they are excellent examples of true humbleness before God and in service to man.
The final leadership essentials – Integrity and Sincerity – the glue that holds a leader together.
Training Boys to be Future Leaders, Part 7