Sunday, August 11, 2013

Pride vs Humility; What are we teaching?

What do our schools teach? Does the educational system instill and mold the characteristics we desire for our kids? While many teachers strive to build up the character of their students, the structure and policies of the public school often negate these efforts.
While pride can be a positive trait under certain conditions, the pride cultivated in public schools is birthed from competition. Today, school staff members are instructed to compare students to the norm in almost every way. Can you sit still as long as Johnny? Is your writing as neat as his? Most importantly, how does your high stakes test score measure up to his? And now that these standardized test scores impact teacher evaluations, I think it is safe to say competition is becoming increasingly fierce in the schools. Unfortunately, this jives with society’s positive view of pride while it sees humbleness as a fault rather than an admirable trait.
Under this formula in our schools students find themselves filled with a false pride or unnecessary shame.
This environment seems to preach bullying; are we working to prevent or promote it?
I came across a quote I find to be quite accurate:

“Nothing is ever done beautifully which is done in rivalship; or nobly, which is done in pride.” –John Ruskin

To avoid this damaging situation our students need to come to the determination that their true value is not of this world. 
(A lesson forbidden in the public system)

So what can a teacher do? 
  • Treasure and show love to each individual student.
  • Do not compare but work to seek and expose the unique abilities and strengths of every child. 
  • Allow them to explore their God-given capabilities while being a support and encourager to their peers. 

Imagine if students had clarity within their self-image and saw peers and the classroom as a support rather than an opponent.

-A couple verses on the dangers of pride. I’ve found a strong link in the bible between humility and wisdom.

Luke 18:14
“For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”

Proverbs 13:10
“Pride only breeds quarrels, but wisdom is found in those who take advice.”