To me, being humble means being selfless and putting the needs of others first. Humility is an essential quality one needs to have in order to serve others. This quality was reinforced during a service project I led over spring break at Ronald McDonald House – a supportive home for families with children seeking medical treatment for chronic illnesses. I learned to serve in humility by putting my role as a leader aside, substituting it with the role of a servant, keeping in mind the community I was serving.

Being humble within a community isn’t always as easy as it sounds and several aspects need to be put into consideration before taking any action. In order to be humble, a starting point is to understand the community at hand. Knowing about the community is one thing, but understanding their background information is highly important. Asking questions is a good approach to this step. I find that the best answers are often given when questions are asked in person, compared to relying on the internet to find answers, since responses are associated with emotion. However, it is important to be mindful and respectful when coming up with questions, being careful not to offend the community, or whoever the questions are directed to. This will prevent one from being known as having an arrogant personality. Getting background information will help to formulate ideas on how to go through the service project showing both humility and empathy. Learning to be deliberately humble in a specific situation may be challenging at first, but just like any other skill, it becomes easier the more it is practiced.

Serving in humility is done without expecting much in return. But at the same time, some may find taking part in service projects to be self-rewarding. Some may receive the feeling of self-satisfaction and pride after taking part in a volunteer activity. It is important however, to maintain the quality of humility and portray these achievements in a humble manner if one chooses to do so. For instance, one may refrain from talking about the service project they have done and let someone else bring up the subject. But if one chooses to speak about their own work, it is important to use an appropriate tone and language when speaking, showing their respect towards the community.

One needs to know how to be humble in order to serve. I got to put this in use as I served at the Ronald McDonald House alongside a team of seven other Drake students. In a follow up discussion, we all realized the importance of serving our community in a selfless way. Small acts of kindness are always appreciated and they often go a long way, making a difference in the lives of many. For instance, we saved the residents at Ronald McDonald House some time by doing chores around the House for them. As a result, they had one less responsibility to worry about and could spend the time saved supporting their children and each other in a clean and tidy environment.

Humility is best acquired when practiced regularly. In my opinion, we all have this quality. We often practice it unconsciously as we empathize with others and when we treat others as our equals. Humility is a core quality, not just for service, but for everything we do in our everyday lives. ­­

Written by: Ropa Runesu