CHURCH BUSINESS: The imperative of teaching your children self control
By Oludare Mayowa
While growing up as a child, my parents will insist that I finish my meal before touching the meat or fish served with it. This practice back then was inconvenient because every child would like to eat the meat or the fish first before even touching the meal.
However, eating the fish or meat after the meal is like icing on the cake for me; it tasted sweeter and make the essence of the meal meaningful to me.
The great lesson being taught by parents back in the days through this action is simply called delayed gratification.
We were being taught self control indirectly because the urge to disobey and eat the meat or fish first was always high, but many of us having weigh the consequence of disobedience, and will reluctantly concentrate first on the food and then return to the meat or fish thereafter.
In today’s world, many parents are no longer bothered about such practice; some considered it as ancient, while some believed it was an act of wickedness by their parents and as such chose to let their own children enjoy better freedom and right of choice on such matter.
There are many other ways my parents taught me self control, self discipline back then, and that have come in handy for me in my adulthood and help me navigates through the challenges of life to date.
My question is; are today’s parents conscious of the need to lay a good foundation for their children for future purposes? Do we still consider the fact that children’s formative age is the best time to expose them to sound moral teaching that will help them when faced with life issues while growing up?
WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW
In today’s culture, we hear such quote like “I will not allow my children to suffer what I suffered while growing up.” So many parents chose to give in to their children urges and give them whatever they want in the name of not wanting to deprive them of such luxuries they lack while growing up. Consequently, children are being over-pampered and could not differentiate between wants and needs.
But I have news for you, early teaching of self control and self discipline is vital to safe guide the future of our children and enables them to be who God wants them to be.
Dr Dan Kindlon, a researcher said: “If we overindulge our children, if we don’t make them learn how to wait their turn, delayed gratification, and resist temptation, the neural changes that we associate with strong character may not take place.”
The Bible also teaches of us that: ”A fool uttereth all his mind: but a wise man keepth it in till afterward”
WHAT YOU CAN DO
We should set the right examples for our children in self controls and self discipline. Like I always say; “monkey see, monkey do” our children are like monkey children too, they watch and observe us and do likewise.
I remember one day while driving to Bible study in company of my children, the elder one ask the younger one to use her seat belt; her response was that: “look, dad and mummy are not using their seat belt, why do you want me to use mine.” That struck a chord in me; we must be a good mirror for our children in all ways.
What do we do when we are angry? What is our public conduct when people provoked us? How do we handle disappointment and failure? What do we do with people’s trust; do we betray it or keep it?
We should also teach our children that for each action there are consequences, which could be either positive or negative. When they exercise good discretion, we should let them understand the appropriate consequence and reward for that, same for when they exhibit poor discretion.
The increased rate of crime in our society today is due to lack of self control and self discipline among the growing population of youth, not necessarily because of the rising level of poverty.
Many people today want a quick fix to their life problems without knowing that life is full of ups and downs and it is those who are able to exercise restrain that will overcome.
In all our dealings with our children, we should encourage them to enjoy some incentive for doing the right thing. We should praise them when they do good and punish then when they violate rules.
Above all, we should model Christ to them in whatever we do; encourage them to study the word of God constantly, buy books that teach them good morals and ask questions on lessons they have learned through the reading of such books.
Be a good friend to them and be ready at all times to listen to their complaint and make sure you provide appropriate answers to all their questions.
Also, pray with them always and teach them how to pray and trust God for all their needs. God’s hands will always be with them and will not allow them to go astray. We shall all reap the fruit of our labour over them and we shall not be found wanting in the day of their glory in Jesus name, Amen.