Life Lessons From
a Country Song
By Derick Turner
There’s a song on country radio by Tim McGraw titled “Humble and Kind” which I feel teaches important lessons for anyone willing to learn them.
For me, it speaks to the idea of remembering what matters most in life. It’s about being the best version of yourself. It’s about remembering who you are deep down, behind the pretense and facade of the world.
It’s a song that I believe everyone should hear at least once, and I feel the Upright Man should memorize its lessons.
Listen to it here
Read the lyrics here
Hold the door, say please, say thank you… Don’t steal, don’t cheat, and don’t lie…
I’ve been asked why I have a chivalry and etiquette section for posts. The reason is that these topics have always been important to me. In fact, those topics are a very large part of why I started this platform.
My mother made sure to teach her four sons the importance of good manners. Because she never had the chance to raise daughters, she wanted to make sure we knew how to treat other mother’s daughters. She was particularly careful to make sure we learned about chivalry and how to treat women.
With this as my background, you can understand why it’s my belief that the majority of issues within any society comes down to the home. No other social success will ever compensate for failure in the homes and families of that society.
This isn’t about religion or lifestyle, it’s about ethics. Where there are loose morals and weak ethics, there will follow weakness in character. I believe this is a major problem in the world today.
So I go back to the lyrics of the song. You should know proper manners. You should understand them, even if others don’t. You should always show proper manners the way you were taught when you were young. Be kind, be polite, be respectful.
Don’t cheat, steal, or lie.
There was a time when a man’s word alone was good enough for a binding contract. Live to be that kind of man now. Make it so your word has meaning. Make your word so strong others will know it is your law.
When others know they can trust you, you will learn to better trust yourself. Learn what it means to be a man of integrity and strive to be exactly that.
Let me repeat, where there are loose morals and weak ethics, there will follow weakness in character.
When those dreams you’re dreaming come to you, when the work you put in is realized…
You have every right to work hard and be rewarded. I believe our Higher Power gave each of us unique abilities and talents with which to accomplish all we can in our lives.
In fact, the very nature of man is that by the sweat of their brow shall they eat, so it stands to reason that the more effort, talent, and experience you put into your work, the more rewarded you can be.
Hard work is part of the fabric of mankind. Not that there is anything wrong with smart work, but few things can compensate for honest, hard work.
When we succeed from our honest efforts, we should give thanks and enjoy it. We should feel joy and gratitude for our success. We have no need to hide or feel ashamed of our successes. We have earned that success with our best efforts, embrace that accomplishment and stand tall.
That being said, we should also not become foolishly prideful. As the song teaches, let yourself feel the pride of your accomplishments, but remain humble and kind about it.
Share your successes, especially with those who supported you along the way. Express gratitude to them and appreciation for their part in your journey and accomplishments. Remember, however, not to brag. Other’s will soon lose joy in your success if they are overwhelmed with your own self congratulations.
Another important point to remember is that where there is a winner, there is sometimes also a loser. No matter how excited you may be, there is not place for disrespect and intentionally rubbing in your victory to a defeated opponent. They know they’ve lost, they don’t need you to remind them. You will be less of a winner if you act in such a prideful and disrespectful way.
Don’t hold a grudge or a chip and here’s why, bitterness keeps you from flying…
This line from the song has been particularly poignant to me recently. If you’ve gone through a divorce, you now about bitterness.
Divorce brings up hard feelings. It’s easy to feel attacked and hurt. It would be easy to fall into bitterness and anger. The problem is the other person is so focused on their own feelings, they are unlikely to be paying any attention to how you are feeling anyway. Your bitterness then is likely only hurting you.
Holding grudges, hoarding anger, failing to let go and move on will rob you of opportunity and experiences to grow. It will hold you down, preventing you from moving forward and upward.
I understand the feelings that come with divorce. My divorce experience brought feelings of being cheated out of a life I felt I deserved. I felt robbed of many things I had been working towards. There is very real and powerful pain.
I’ve learned something since the divorce though, and that is the fact that I will never feel good about myself when I am holding on to bitterness. There is no longer a right or wrong in this fight, there are no winners. For better or worse, the fight is over. Time to move on.
I realized that holding on to any grudge was only holding me down. Any time I have been closed minded and focused on my own selfish feelings of being “right”, I have regretted it.
It was actually my ex who helped teach me this. When I was angry, she would respond in kind. When I was patient and forgiving, our communications seemed to go much more smoothly. We took our turns being the strong one, but she has gone from being a sparring partner to being a partner in parenting our children. It has not always been easy, but I’m grateful to her for helping me learn this lesson.
It is my desire to become a much better person than I have been. I can’t do that if I insist on holding on to the past. Much the way a bird would be held back if it clung to the branch it’s trying to soar away from, holding on to hurt or pain you’re trying to leave behind will only keep you from getting off the ground.
Let yourself feel the pride, but always stay humble and kind
As you work on refining yourself in the ways this song suggests, you will find yourself growing, succeeding, and accomplishing great things.
You will achieve new things, reach new goals, and become a better person.
Let yourself feel the pride of those accomplishments, but don’t forget the person you were. Don’t forget the scars and bruises, because they have taught you to become more.
Don’t forget the lessons you were taught as a child, and the lessons you’ve been taught through your trials.
Don’t forget who helped you get there. Don’t forget the blessings of a Higher Power which helped you magnify your talents and skills to reach your goals.
I believe you can find greater happiness by adhering to the principles of this song. Learn and grow. Become the better version of yourself that you want to be, and let yourself feel good about it.
Let yourself feel the pride, but always stay humble and kind.
Question: What were some words of wisdom you learned when you were younger which have guided your life? Leave a comment below.