Does the Bible Teach Us How to Pray?
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Does the Bible Teach Us How to Pray?

Prepare Your Kids For School: Cultivate Humility

Posted August 2, 2020

The ability to learn is a life skill we haven’t all acquired. In my family, the “know it all club” is alive and well, and I’m its fearless leader.

Part of helping our kids as they go back to school is reminding them how to be learners. We’re sending them into an environment where they aren’t in charge, they don’t make the rules, and they don’t know everything. While this shouldn’t be that different from at home, it’s a good opportunity to cultivate some renewed humility.

Humility is by nature vulnerable. To be humble is to admit that you don’t know everything, that you need help, that you have much to learn and many ways to grow. No one likes this kind of exposure. Our pride kicks in and we’re tempted to cover up all our weaknesses. No one wants to be the kid in the classroom who has to raise his hand and ask the teacher to explain it again, and so we fake it ‘til we make it.

But learning to say, “I don’t know,” “I need help,” or “I made a mistake” is a spiritual practice. Though we acknowledge that our human teachers don’t always respond to our neediness well, we must teach our children that God doesn’t despise our humanity. He’s a patient father—he remembers we’re but dust and has compassion on us in our weakness (Ps. 103:13–14).

Cultivating the self-awareness in our children that they are needy and they don’t know everything helps them to live in a posture that teaches them to depend on God.

Plus, recognizing you have much to learn is a hallmark of wisdom: “Listen to advice and accept instruction,” the Proverbs advise, “that you may gain wisdom in the future” (Prov. 19:20). Cultivating humility in our children as learners in the classroom sets them up to be wise people who can receive instruction in the future.

There’s another aspect to cultivating humility in our children that arises as they go back to school. Some of our kids are rock stars—star students, star athletes, rule-followers, or ring leaders. Going to school helps them feel awesome. They love the attention, the affirmation, and the accomplishments that follow.

Cultivating humility in our rock star kids doesn’t mean beating them down and telling them they’re not as great as they think they are, but it does mean reminding them where it all comes from. “What do you have that you did not receive?” the apostle Paul asks the Corinthians (1 Cor. 4:7). When we teach our children to live as recipients of God’s grace, they’ll grow in grateful, humble dependence on the giver. Instead of boasting in their strengths and being tempted to think more highly of themselves than others, they’ll see themselves as stewards of the gifts entrusted to them in order that they might humbly serve others.

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Kendra Dahl

Kendra Dahl is the Director of Content for Core Christianity and White Horse Inn, a writer, wife, and mom of three. Originally from Fargo, North Dakota, she currently lives in the San Diego area, where she loves life among the beach and mountains and doesn't miss the snow even a little bit. She has an M.A. in Biblical Studies from Westminster Seminary California and writes to invite people into the healing and freedom found in knowing Christ. You can find her on Instagram.