Core Decorum

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Illustration courtesy of Cecilia Lang.

All human beings struggle with various personal and moral problems throughout their lives. One thing that most people share and have had in common since the beginning is a problem with balancing pride and humility.

As philosopher-poet Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote, “A great man is always willing to be little.” This quotation encompasses the truth about pride and humility that goes deeper than just the basic message that it is good to be humble.

What we often forget when we think about our struggles with pride is that pride is actually a very good thing. In fact, a proper amount of pride is necessary for true humility.

This kind of pride involves an honest recognition of your good qualities and a simple acknowledgment of your abilities. Without it, we run the risk of becoming either insecure or scrupulous, neither of which is conducive to a healthy way of living.

This healthy form of pride makes possible our humility when we are willing to acknowledge the admirable things about ourselves, but attribute the credit for them to God, recognizing the grace that we receive from Him that makes these things possible.

Especially at an institution like the University of Dallas, where academic success is highly prized, we are often faced with the opportunity to compare our successes, our strengths and weaknesses to those of other people. It is detrimental to our mental well-being to dwell on these comparisons because it can foster both envy of others and insecurity about ourselves.

However, this is not what we are about at UD. As is apparent by the wide variety of fields of study and opportunities for academic achievement at our university, no two people have the same combination of strengths and weaknesses.

Rather, what brings us together at UD is our love for learning and our willingness to learn, with humility, from our professors and classmates, how to become the best version of ourselves that we can. We would not be at this university if we did not have a dual understanding of the importance of a liberal arts education and the breadth of knowledge that we have yet to learn.

And this is not the end; one of the greatest lessons that UD should, and often does, teach, is that this education is by no means the end of our learning. Rather, we are here to gain necessary skills that will help us after we leave UD, as well as how to learn as much as we can from the world around us and continue to grow as human beings.

We should be proud of the things we have accomplished, as long as our pride does not consume us and blind us to our faults. We should accept with humility the gifts that we have been given, either through God’s grace, our parents, our education or our own abilities. This will help us practice humility by being aware of the areas in which we are lacking in understanding, as well as receiving proper satisfaction with the work we have completed well.

This mindset fosters a desire to know, the mark of a true intellectual and a good Christian.

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