The other day, I was served a hot heaping slice of humble pie and I loved it. Okay, truth be told when the slice of humble pie was first presented to me, I was – in G-rated terms – irritated. I wasn’t irritated because the humble pie wasn’t served à la mode either. Nor was I worried that the humble pie might mess up my swim trunk model figure. I was irritated because like most people I didn’t want any dadgum humble pie.
Now, how do I say this next part without sounding like I need another slice of humble pie? For starters, I need you to take me at my word. At the present moment, I don’t want nor do I need any more humble pie. Trust me, I’ve had my fill. I suppose there is no way to say what needs to be said without sounding egotistical so I’ll just state it as honest as possible and hope for the best. Here goes!
THE FEW, THE FORTUNATE, THE HUMBLED
Nobody likes humble pie but we all need a serving of it every now and then. There I said it! Unfortunately, only a few of the people who are offered humble pie have the wherewithal to even realize when it is being served to them. Worse, fewer people possess the profundity to appreciate the value of humble pie. Making matters worse, even fewer people have the courage to ingest and savor every single beneficial crumb.
To my initial dismay, I was served not a slice but a whole pie last week. At this very moment, I can humbly state (pun intended) that I am still consuming my humble pie and finding nutritional value with each remaining morsel. In the words of the late Art Ginsburg, who most of us affectionately knew as Mr. Food, humble pie “Ooh! It’s so good!”.
In case you were unaware, humble pie is a bit like the mutated offspring of Castor Oil and Kentucky Fried Chicken’s Original Recipe®. As one of the two parents, Castor Oil tastes horrible but elders like my grandmother believed it was a preventative treatment and a cure all remedy. The other parent, KFC Original Chicken, obtained its notoriety from a secret blend of 11 herbs & spices.
And so we have Humble Pie a terrible tasting preventative treatment and cure all remedy comprised of a secret blend of ingredients. Rather than belaboring the point about how initially unappetizing humble pie can be, I’m going to share with you the secret blend that makes humble pie “ooh so good!”.
- Growth – Humble pie makes it possible for us to grow. Recognizing and even being reminded that we don’t know everything is critical for continuous evolution. Children who absorb early that no one knows everything are more likely to remain open to learning. Children who are indoctrinated in the philosophy that no one person is always on top grow up to be adults who will consistently strive for improvement. Parents who truly want their children to achieve academically and holistically should rejoice when their child is served humble pie.
- Empathy – Humble pie seasons us with compassion. Be forewarned though! Whenever anyone thinks they know everything or that they are impervious to error, open your mouth wide because a slice of humble pie is soon to be served. No matter how slight or how great the serving of humble pie, when fully ingested humble pie provides an opportunity to become kinder and gentler. Parents will have little problem recognizing children who have been raised on humble pie – they are the kids who will repeatedly look out for those whom others would prefer to mistreat and ignore.
- Patience – Humble pie prepares us to be not just patient but persistently patient. Humble pie discourages the belief and expectation in overnight success. Without persistent patience there is no chance for creativity or innovation. Absent persistent patience there would be little to nothing we could reference as being beautiful or great. Children who are taught patience through servings of humble pie understand that beauty and greatness are the results of persistent patience – all-out relentless effort. Children who acclimate themselves to the power of persistent patience today give themselves a chance to become the world changers of tomorrow.
- Honesty – Humble pie gives us the chance to be honest – to be brutally genuine and authentic with ourselves. If you allow it, humble pie can be an invaluable personal truth serum. Humble pie can be the foundation of improved behavior and overall decency. Yet if you are not careful, humble pie can also be your version of the Queen’s magic mirror. Like the Queen’s magic mirror, when you purposely and consciously ignore when humble pie is being served to you, you are not allowed to feign surprise when the mirror gives you an answer that there is someone lovelier, more graceful and fairer than thee.
- Community – Humble pie fosters communal development. When you have accepted and ingested your serving of humble pie, you have a greater appreciation for those in your community. In fact, when you take pleasure in a serving of humble pie, you have a greater appreciation for all living beings. Children who value a serving of humble pie become adults who maintain the perspective that individually they are small and insignificant in the grand scheme of the universe. These children go on to use their time, talent and resources collaborative so that they may make the planet better than it was when they arrived.
THANK YOU SIR, MAY I HAVE ANOTHER
In 1978, “Animal House” was released. “Animal House” is considered by many as the quintessential college movie. Although if I was voting, I would choose “School Daze”. Nevertheless, there is a scene in Animal House that typifies my renewed appreciation for humble pie. In the particular scene, Chip (played by Kevin Bacon) was being paddled as part of Omega’s initiation process. Chip’s only option, at that time, if he wanted to be a part of the fraternity was to get paddled.
Last Saturday, I felt Chip’s pain. Actually, I felt my own pain again as I remember the pledge process of my own Omega fraternity. From just before 10 am until 11:15 am or so I was paddled by and with humble pie. Last Saturday, I was offered no other option if I wanted to be a better person, servant and leader than to accept my hot generous serving of humble pie. Last Saturday, I was reminded that like Chip that there will be times when all you can do is bend over graciously, smile, look humble pie squarely in the crust and repeat these seven words “Thank you, sir! May I have another?”
What happened the last time you were served humble pie? How have you equipped your child to deal with humbling moments?