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Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Humility two year old style

HUMILITY - The quality or condition of being humble; imitate Jesus and Socrates. [Humility week begins here. Click for this week's Bliss Initiatives.]

 Humility by Chidi Okoye,
Abstract print on

I've realized that my two year old, Jessie, is a remarkable teacher when it comes to this topic. She is so inclusive in everything she does. It never occurs to her that someone or something different should be treated differently. For example, on the play ground, or yesterday in the pool, Jessie immediately declares any child that can walk her friend. (The non walkers are "itty bitty babies" and deserve hugs and squeals of delight but are not quite friends.) Now any of the declared friends can totally ignore Jessie, and some of the older kids often do, but this does not matter to Jessie. She always tells everyone what she is doing, "I building a sand castle here." or "I moving this chair here." and invites them to play along. "Want to play with me? This is going to be fun!"Sometimes no one joins her and she does what ever she set out to do alone and then when she decides it is time for something else the invitations go out again. "I playing train now, choo choo! You want to be a train too?" Sometimes it looks like she is wearing the other kids down and finally they relent and play, often at the urging of their parents. "That little girl wants to play with you."

Yesterday there was a little boy who clearly spoke no English and was constantly confused, and possibly a little scared of Jessie constantly approaching him with her invitations.  It took 6 or 7 attempts but he finally joined Jessie with a game of pulling lounge chairs in the water.  Then the little boy played happily with Jessie until it was time to go.  If I put myself in the same situation, I would probably make one or MAYBE two attempts at striking up a conversation but I would never keep going with the voracity Jessie displays. It never occurs to her that a kid who speaks a different language should not be invited.

Last week Jessie was "counting money" which consisted of eleven or twelve round wooden disks and one real quarter. As I looked at  her game I immediately wanted to remove the "real quarter" from her game because it didn't match the other pretend coins she was using.  The wood pieces are bigger and the quarter looked small and frankly it kind of bugged me. Jessie counted and stacked these coins, playing a variety of games and all the while this real quarter was part of the group. It was never more or less important then the other pieces even though it looked so different. I really had to keep myself from influencing her.

Last night as we were walking back to our hotel room Jessie decided to pick up leaves. She wanted mommy and daddy to have one too and proceeded to pick up three of the ugliest, crinkled up leaves for us to share. There were beautiful specimens available but this was of no consequence to Jessie. What was important was that everyone had a leaf. Leaves no matter their shape or condition are equal to Jessie. Once again I had to fight my personal preference for the pretty one, the big one or the smooth one and I tried not to compare my leaf to another on the ground or in daddy's hand. Mine was dried out and a large piece of it was actually missing. I would never give this leaf the time of day if I were choosing.

I then thought about how I interact with people. I definitely make judgments based on how people look. He is awfully scruffy, that girl looks like a snob (how snobby of me to think so!lol), that couple looks like they are having a terrible time, that store clerk looks approachable, etc... Jessie never makes these type of distinctions and while I suppose they have their place when evaluating if someone looks dangerous, what might be possible if I suspended judgement until AFTER I actually spoke and or interacted with someone? What if I viewed all people as equally as Jessie views leaves?

Do not judge so that you will not be judged. For in the way you judge, you will be judged; and by your standard of measure, it will be measured to you. Why do you look at the speck that is in your brother's eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ˜Let me take the speck out of your eye, and behold, the log is in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother's eye. 
Jesus as quoted in Matthew 7:1-6

Next Post: Some humble opinions.

My 13 bliss virtues: joy, order, creativity, passion, whimsy, serenity, inquiry, community, romance, gratitude, moxie, humility, surprise
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Ben Franklin's 13 Virtues

  • 1. TEMPERANCE - Eat not to dullness; drink not to elevation.
  • 2. SILENCE - Speak not what may benefit others or yourself; avoid trifling conversation.
  • 3. ORDER - Let all your things have their places; let each part of your business have its time.
  • 4. RESOLUTION - Resolve to perform what you ought; perform without fail what you resolve.
  • 5. FRUGALITY - Make no expense but to do good to others or yourself; i.e. waste nothing.
  • 6. INDUSTRY - Lose no time; be always employ'd in something useful; cut off all unnecessary actions.
  • 7. SINCERITY - Use no hurtful deceit; think innocently and justly, and if you speak, speak accordingly.
  • 8. JUSTICE - Wrong none by doing injuries, or omitting the benefits that are your duty.
  • 9. MODERATION - Avoid extreams; forbear resenting injuries so much as you think they deserve.
  • 10. CLEANLINESS - Tolerate no uncleanliness in body, cloaths or habitation.
  • 11. TRANQUILITY - Be not disturbed at trifles, or at accidents common or unavoidable.
  • 12. CHASTITY - Rarely use venery but for health or offspring, never to dullness, weakness, or to the injury of your own or another's peace or reputation.
  • 13. HUMILITY - Imitate Jesus and Socrates.


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