Sitting with my acting coach and fellow classmates one night; waiting for another classmate to get ready for a scene and performance; we came upon the topic of humility. I deem my professor a very wise and wonderful man; a true and fine father and husband with child-like zeal in his love for being vulnerable to life's situations and converting this into the art of acting. I admire him very much and have learnt so much about life in general from him. However the comment that he made left me feeling quite troubled.
I have found out that to be a good actor, the confidence level of that person should be high. If a person has no confidence in themselves or their abilities; 9 times out of 10 they will fail at being able to carry out their duties as a character in a scene while acting. Actors happen to be quite seemingly self-assured people; and those who are not, are not very good at it; or substitute their fears by abusing drugs and alcohol. So now, in retrospect, it shouldn't have bothered me that my acting coach would make a statement like this in the first place.
He expressed lightly that he didn't find it necessary to teach children to be humble. He didn't understand it, didn't find the importance in it and said if his daughter were to gain an A in an assignment, she should be able to smile and stand proudly for what she had achieved. I saw his significance in this however I couldn't agree fully. The other students sitting in his daughter's class, would have different reactions to her emotional output. Some would be positive and others who didn't do as well may be jealous or even sad. The students in my class didn't see the relevance in my 'then' argument and agreed strongly with my professor's point of view. One classmate even said that when she lived in the East for a couple years, they were always so humble, bowing ever so much and she thought it was absurd and almost comical at times even. I was filled in a room of Americans; in fact I am surrounded by them mostly as I reside in the United States. I do not judge them; but wish I could help them see different points of view. Each country around the world that I've had the opportunity to frequent and visit have different cultural upbringing and reasoning and so I could recognize why they had comparable insight.
I am not from the East; however my great grandfather migrated to Trinidad & Tobago from Hong-Kong. Through my family upbringing as well as being tolerant and taught about different religions and cultures in my country; I am more open-minded and sensitive towards different people's thought processes. It is the most important to be respectful to parents, elderly and authority, but most importantly respect to each other; and after that being humble. My people are for the most part very passive.
I certainly think that it is important to be proud of achievements you have made in life and also to not sit back and let people take advantage of you, however I believe also that it is pertinent to teach our young ones about humility because it is an essential quality in spiritual life; and not only that but it is an outward expression of the desire to go beyond the ego. The ego is a very serious thing; what kind of presence do you want to have in a room? Would you rather one of modesty or one of arrogance? Which sort of person do you prefer to keep company with? We must ask ourselves these questions…
Life is all about impermanence; which means that nothing lasts forever. Your wealth, health, and happiness can be taken away or changed in the blink of an eye. If one were to go around boasting or being smug about their fortunate moments; it would be more than dreadful for them when they fall. In that respect we must remember not to be self-righteous or haughty in life's situations because everything is unpredictable and sacred. Therefore when children are proud of their achievements we must tell them to smile and be grateful but also to be humble about the situation; it comes back to the point of respect for others. Respect for life, respect to nature, respect to fellow beings; for if you were to project this negative energy toward them, more times than less a negative return could be returned.
There are so many stories I can share of why we must be humble but I will just share this one that a lovely friend shared with me:
"I was in high school back then; and he was the most handsome boy I ever saw. He was so good-looking; and he knew it. He walked around without a care in the world, and he would play pranks on classmates and also some neighbours. He never got caught and he had the world eating out of his hand. One day he decided to interfere once more with a neighbour by throwing rocks at his window; the old man was known for his impatience towards the young mischievous children around him. What the handsome boy did not know was that the old man had purchased a gun. That night something in the old man snapped, and he limped outside and shot the boy in the head. The boy went into a coma for many months; he was unable to finish his last year of high school with his classmates, instead hoping to recover from this terrible trauma. He was lucky enough to come back to his family and to life; however he was left blind. He could no longer walk around arrogantly and poke fun and be mischievous to students or neighbours."
I'm sure this boy learn't his lesson; however he had to learn the hard way. Teach your children and young ones about respect for each other and humility now; or one day it may be too late.