A Humbling Experience
Being humble means not bragging. Moses - one of the greatest people who ever lived - was also the most humble (12:3). If Moses, who certainly had a lot to brag about, didn't, shouldn't we do the same?
In our story, an encounter with a humble kid gives some others a humbling experience.
"Here you go, girls. Enjoy yourselves!" the server smiled as she set the three ice-cream sundaes down on the table.
Karen and her friends, Val and Hillary, had plenty to celebrate. They'd just finished the last day of the school year, gotten their report cards and were on vacation for nearly two months!
"Well I guess this means my diet starts tomorrow," Karen chuckled as she drizzled a spoonful of hot fudge over her maraschino cherry. "But you know what? I deserve it. After all, it's not everyone who came out of Mr. Henderson's algebra course with an 'A' minus." She lifted her report card out of her book bag.
"In fact, I'd say these grades are pretty sparkling across the board, wouldn't you?"
The other two girls nodded, as indeed the report card boasted plenty of 'A's and 'A' minuses, with not a single grade lower than a 'B' plus.
"Okay, your turn, Val," Karen grinned.
The girl, also a good student, dutifully displayed her report card that was also good, but not as good as Karen's.
"Okay, Hillary, you're up," Karen said.
Hillary suddenly seemed super interested in running her spoon through her ice-cream and didn't respond.
"Ahem, Hillary - it's time for true confessions," Karen said louder. "Let's see your report card."
The girl shrugged. "You guys did so great - who needs to see mine?" she mumbled.
"Drop the subject," Val whispered into Karen's ear. "She's obviously embarrassed to show it."
But Karen wouldn't let up. "Look, I know you're new in school this year so probably you don't realize, but everyone in our class already knows that I'm the top student. Nobody expects your grades to match up to mine."
By now, Hillary was blushing about as red as her cherry and squirming in her seat. "Uh ... you know ... I think I have to run to the restroom for a minute. You guys keep on eating; I'll be right back." Before anyone could say anything, Hillary had scooted off.
"Why did you keep bragging like that and trying to put her on the spot?" Val scolded her friend. "Hillary obviously didn't have a report card to be proud of, so why... Hey what are you doing?" she exclaimed as Karen bent down and stuck her hand into Hillary's book bag that was on the floor by her seat.
"Calm down," Karen said. "I just want to take a quick little peek at the kid's report card. The way she ran off, it must be filled with 'C's, 'D's or worse. I've never seen those grades on a report card before and I'm curious what they look like."
"Karen! You can't..." Val objected, but it was too late. The girl had deftly pulled the report card out of the bag and slipped the envelope open.
"It can't be!" Karen stuttered as she stared wide-eyed at the paper in front of her. "It just can't be!"
Val, despite herself, couldn't resist also peeking at what had given her friend such a fright. After all, how bad could a report card be?
"A plus...every grade an A plus!" Karen mumbled shaking her head over and over, suddenly cherry-red, herself. "She could have wiped me - and my stupid bragging - off the floor with this report card..."
"She could have, but she didn't," Val added softly.
Silently, the girls returned their humble classmate's report card to its place and realized that by not bragging, their friend had done something truly worth bragging about.
Q. How did Karen feel at first about bragging?
A. She felt like it was okay and did it.
Q. How did she feel in the end?
A. After she saw that Hillary did so much better than her, but didn't brag, she realized that bragging wasn't right.
Q. What life lesson do you think someone could learn from what happened?
A. It's tempting to brag about our accomplishments even if it makes others feel bad, but refraining and being humble is a much nicer way to be.
Q. Why do you think didn't Hillary want to show off her report card?
A. She knew that if she did, Karen would feel hurt and also, she didn't feel a need to show off.
Ages 10 and Up
Q. Are humility and low self-esteem the same?
A. Actually they are the opposite. Often people brag out of low self-esteem, feeling that they are only worth something if everyone knows how great they are, whereas a humble person is aware of his strengths and accomplishments and feels no need to flaunt them.
Q. But how can someone who's truly great feel humble?
A. They can focus on the fact that they can always grow and compared to what they can reach, they still have a long way to go. Also, if they realize that what they have - superior intelligence, good looks, wealth, etc. - are in truth a free gift from God, they won't feel tempted to brag about it.