Teaching humility to our children

I read a quote the other day that said, “Success doesn’t make you invincible. Success makes you lazy and complacent”. It struck a chord with me because the theme of success had been on my mind a lot lately. Particularly how we teach our children the meaning of success and failure. But most importantly, remaining humble in the process.

When we become parents, we innately become responsible for the well-being of another human. There is no hand book. No one telling us if we are doing it right. And no check list to refer to with each birthday celebration.

The beautiful part is that as parents, we get to decide what we teach our children. What becomes the cornerstone of our family values. And for us, working hard and staying humble are at the top of our list.

Whether through sports, school, art projects, you name it. And we’ve become keenly aware of not only how we teach this, but also how we demonstrate this ourselves.

Because the truth is, our kids will hold many positions in life. They will reach peaks in performance, being the best of the best. They will also fail, over and over again. And while some things come easy for them, there will be times they will work their ass off and never reach the top.

And all of these positions hold equal weight in value.

Let’s take sports for example. I was always an athlete growing up. I played many sports and tried everything. In high school, I played softball and figure skated. Before that, I tried diving, track, soccer, and basketball. I even tried rowing in college. I loved them all and they all taught me something different. I learned about confidence. Leadership. The importance of failing and getting back up. I learned about friendship and teamwork. The importance of working hard.

You see for me, I was never the best at anything. Whether it was sports, my love of art, or school and academics, I was always right in the middle. I wasn’t the best, but I was solid because I worked hard (except for diving, I was horrible at diving).

And in our house growing up, being the best didn’t matter. It was about working hard and giving it my best every time I stepped onto that softball field. Every test I took. Every project I owned. The results of that didn’t matter.

And in our house today, this holds true for our family. Being the best is never the goal. But man, doesn’t it feel like that’s all that matters everywhere these days?

Now, we may not be able to control our external factors, BUT we can make sure this doesn’t become the inner dialogue for our children. Or, let’s be real with ourselves – that this doesn’t become our inner dialogue.

When I look back at that the quote, “Success doesn’t make you invincible. Success makes you lazy and complacent”, I wouldn’t pass this on to my kids at face value, but it means something to me as an adult.

And its grounded me on a few things and the example we want to set for our kids:

  • Always, always work hard.
  • Get comfortable being uncomfortable.
  • Failure is part of the process.
  • Just because you are the best now, it doesn’t mean you always will be. You can always grow.
  • If something doesn’t come naturally, it’s not your life sentence. Work hard and you can get better.
  • Don’t ever let success go to your head. Help others get to where you are.
  • Being the best at something does NOT define your self-worth.
  • Celebrate your kids for everything. And I call bullshit on bragging about only the best parts. I want to see the hard work. The lessons learned. The confidence gained. The growth from the progress!

Here are some of ours:


This was one of Kellen’s first games on a new team. They haven’t won a game yet and here, I think they lost 17-3. I could probably think of a lot of excuses on why, but it doesn’t matter. Because they sure worked hard. They’re getting better. And having fun. 



This is Declan; we think he is going to be an individual sport kind of a kid. He plays team sports, but seems to be more comfortable when he becomes the competition. And he’s really taken to golf. I love watching his focus. His determination. I have no idea if he even hit the ball. This is what I remember.



Five years ago, I couldn’t keep a plant alive. It was absurd. But, I have gotten better, and I work so hard to keep my flowers thriving each summer. This reflects my plants come August 1. And its glorious because it reminds me that it was living for THREE months before this! 



I love this picture of Declan. It was after he caught up with me during a 5k in support of the Emily Program. He wasn’t even signed up, but came to watch me run. And he wanted to be part of the experience. Those rosy cheeks. He loves running, which I love because its a passion of mine. I think he likes the mental break, the adrenaline rush. And no one telling him to stop.



He cared way more about dancing in the field and the snacks than winning his games, but he loved going and tried his best. I mean come on, look at that face.



I convinced my husband to train for a ten-mile race, and I was SO proud that we crossed the finish line together! Our kids asked if we won. Ha! No, WE FINISHED! And I have no idea what our time was. You can go ahead and look it up. You care more then we did.  




OK, not going to lie. The compulsive editor in me had to fight not to get in there and pretty these up. And there were definitely other science fair presentations that were prettier, but LOOK AT THEIR SMILES!!  They did this all on their own, and we were so proud.



I HATE wrapping presents. I usually just get gift bags and it solves the whole debacle. My present was on the top and believe it or not, I actually tried to do a good job. I’m owning it. Merry Christmas.  

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