There is a proverb that says, “Pride goes before destruction.” Time and time again we see examples of the fine line between confidence and pride being blurred, resulting in fall after fall. Pride is all about me. Confidence recognizes that God has given me abilities and created me to fill a unique role that no one else is called to fill. Borne in humility, confidence is a recognition that life is not about me but about using the gifts and abilities I have been blessed with to their fullest. And it’s not just about using the gifts to benefit me, but to help my team and impact others.
I appreciate that form of humility; it’s not a false modesty claiming that what you accomplished or who you are isn’t important, but a realization that God created all of us with unique gifts and abilities. It’s a different dynamic than tearing myself down. Rather, it’s respecting others and trying to lift them up. It’s embracing the idea that God created me for a particular place and time, and sharing that idea with others who were also created to play a role. Once you can do that, it becomes much easier to let go of status or false ideas of respect.
It was September 1996, and Tony had invited me down to see my first game in Tampa against Seattle. I was excited and got in early so I could experience everything that weekend. Tony and I drove to the hotel on Saturday afternoon and put our bags in the suite that the team had reserved for him. As I understand it, many coaches hold meetings with their staff on Saturday night in the living room—that’s why they have a suite.
We got settled and checked some college-game scores, then headed downstairs for chapel and meetings with the team. Afterward, Tony went back up to the room, but I stayed downstairs. I had already eaten dinner with the team before chapel, but I heard they had a snack before bed, and I thought that seemed like a good idea, too.
It turns out that a “snack” is yet another full meal in the NFL—after eating and watching some of the college games with the players, I headed back up to the room. The entire suite was dark. I should have known that Tony wasn’t going to tweak or second-guess the plan they had put together all week. I felt around in the dark for the pullout bed in the living room, climbed in . . .and found Tony already there, asleep.
He woke up and we began a vigorous discussion about who was going to get the bedroom. “You’re my guest; you take it,” he said, “Seriously, Loren, I invited you to Tampa.”
“You’re kidding, right? You’re the head coach of the Buccaneers with a game tomorrow, and I’m the relative eating free food and staying in a free room—you take it!”
This went on longer than it should have. Tony refused to leave, and of course, so did I. After all, not only was it the right thing, but I knew I would have to answer to my sister if Tony slept on a pullout bed the night before a game. Finally, I just lay down on the floor in the living room and threatened to sleep there for the night unless he left and took the bedroom.
Rather than insist that others respect us, we need to make sure we are respecting others, holding others in the proper esteem. We need to make sure we demonstrate respect for others simply because they are here, trying their best to be all they were created to be. Those who truly live out that quality will make the best spouses, teammates, parents, friends, and business partners. Stop for a moment and think about people you know who tried and are trying to be all they should be. Are we modeling that for our children? Hopefully we’re teaching our kids that humility is to be valued—that life is not about us, but about others and something greater than us.
Sound off: What is the greatest act of humility you have ever seen?
Huddle Up Question
Huddle up with your kids and ask, “What do you think it means to have humility?”