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Humility is a great thing

I’m not Catholic, but I’ve been most greatly impressed by the new Pope. He exemplifies humility in so many, many ways. On the opposite side I’ve been embarrassed by some conservatives who bad-mouth our U.S. governmental programs that help those who need help. Certainly, I have heard of some deadbeats who didn’t truly need help, but made a business out of getting something for nothing. Most of those led very humble lives and were truly humble, embarrassedly so, because they couldn’t match the competition. A very few others, found a way to beat the system and unfortunately some of those actually did have the wherewithal to gain exalted status. Some of those were able to gain unusual heights and do much greater damage to our society help.

Ayn Rand has made a writing career of extolling success and making the case, as best she can, that making success is only a matter of effort. Everyone can do it if they have the willingness to work hard. Unless you and I have led a very sheltered life, we personally have known people who truly need help. Those of us who spent our work lives in education, have seen many who worked so extremely hard and just couldn’t match the ability of others.

We have a great variety of abilities don’t we? Some have wealthy parents and never really had to scratch out an income. Some were handsome and maybe tall like Ronald Reagan. Some had high I.Q’s. Good luck has been my mantra.

I couldn’t leave this topic without a bit of humor.

There is a cowboy song from my Montana days whose opening line is something like this: It’s hard to be humble when you are so great.

Mohammed Ali, the champion heavyweight boxer, used that line too: It is very hard to be humble if you are as great as me.

I like the opposite statement. I’ve kept the following for many years but it was written anonymously. Some truth to it too, if any of us every have the temptation to be so great that we are in fact think we are, Indispensable:

Sometime when you’re feeling important,

Sometime, when your ego’s in bloom,

Sometime when you take it for granted,

You’re the most qualified in the room,

Sometime when you feel like you’re going,

Would leave an unfillable hole,

Just follow this simple instruction,

And see how it humbles your soul.

Take a bucket and fill it with water,

Put your hand in it up to your wrist;

Pull it out, and the hole that’s remaining,

Is a measure of how you’ll be missed.

You may splash all you please as you enter,

You can stir up the water galore,

But stop, and you’ll find in a minute,

That it looks quite the same as before.

The moral of this quaint example,

Is to do just the best that you can,

Be proud of yourself, but remember,

There’s no indispensable man. (or woman)

Bernie Hughes, Ed.D, is a retired educator who resides in Superior. He can be reached at