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A Lesson from the Chinese View of Humility

The Chinese-American Christian leader Russell Jeung explains how his father taught him a profound lesson on the true nature of humility. Due to the maltreatment of many Chinese immigrants in America, Russell's dad taught him to work hard. But he also taught him he should not consider himself better than anyone else, even if successful.

"As the youngest child in my family," Russell explains, "my job at Chinese banquets was to make sure everyone's teacup was kept full. My dad, without fail, reminded me at these meals to be alert to the needs of others. I think he took as much pride in seeing me serve food to dinner guests as he did in seeing me get good grades."

Russell reinforces this concept of humility by pointing to the Chinese characters making up the words for humility—Qiang xun.

"Qiang means to have a yielding spirit, not seeking one's own pride or recognition. It pictures someone speaking while holding shafts of grain together, suggesting that words of humility prioritize the unity and harmony of the group first. Xun is the pictograph of the way a grandchild walks. We are to see ourselves like children, moving and acting in deference to our wiser elders."

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