Broken when spoken.
We've been teaching Emeth that he should not compliment himself. It might be cute that he praises himself now when he is only three, but I am sure it will not be cute five years, ten years, forty years down the road.
Self-praise is no praise, we would tell him. The concept is still, however, a little tricky for him to grasp at this point. After he does something kind, or when he shares a toy with his brother, he would say in his seriously voice, "Mommy, Emeth should not say that Emeth is being good. Only mommy and daddy can say that Emeth is being good."
Broken when spoken.
Adults do this all the time, here is a list of things that we break once we speak or think of them.
- I should never think that I am prepared. When I think I am prepared, I stop thinking, and when I stop thinking, I forget things. (OK, so this only applies to me.)
- After you tell a joke, if people respond with "that's funny!" -- this means that the joke was not funny. Because if it was funny, they would be laughing, not talking.
- When you are waiting in line, or when you are stuck in traffic, and you think you are being patient -- you are not. It's like what they say about a watched kettle -- it never boils. So, look away! Think about other things! Have conversations! Keep busy!
- Whenever I hear organizations talking about being "diverse" or "multicultural" or "authentic" -- I doubt that they are. If they were truly diverse or authentic, they would not need to talk about it -- they would just be. That would be the norm. Cool people don't need to call themselves cool. That would be un-cool.
- When I think I am wise, I am not--because wisdom loves correction and rebuke. It is not enough to just accept rebukes, but we are to love them, to treasure them. Wisdom would seek correction, longing for ways to be better. The wise person would think that she is a fool.
- And here is my favorite from C.S. Lewis: When I think I am humble, I am not. Because a humble person would not be thinking about herself at all.