For the Good of Your Child, Self-Control - Lesson IX
The decade of the 1960’s was a turning point in the history of our country for it was a decade where many decided that they were no longer going to be bound by the common customs and values of their parents.
It was the decade where the mantra, “If it feels good do it” taking no account of the consequences of doing such a thing and “Let it all hang out” which meant don’t let anyone put barriers to your thinking or your speaking.
Relax and be uninhibited by other’s values and norms.
Take no thought of the future and just live for the day.
It was a decade where authorities were evil spoken of, a decade of protest, a decade or riots and disturbance and even assassinations.
It was the decade that birthed the wickedness that we are seeing today, a liberty of doing evil while calling it doing good.
It was the decade where such a thing as self-control was shunned as something not fit to bring into this new freedom.
It is not easy to be unaffected by this new culture for the world system, ordered and governed by Satan, the Prince of Darkness is inundated with this thinking.
We find today the streets are filled with the uninhibited.
Satan has flooded the world with this philosophy and unless you have the mind of Christ you will drown in its waters.
As I said in our last lesson Christians are called to be on the narrow way.
To be on the narrow way is to be on a way where thinking is different from those on the broad way.
2 Corinthians 5:17 makes this very clear when it says, Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.
We are to believe this especially in the matter of how we think.
Paul taught this to the Romans in Romans 12:2, And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.
God intends for His children to believe not every spirit but to try or test the spirits whether they are of God.
Christians are to take everything that comes along and put it through the Bible test.
Does it conform to truth or does it bring in error?
God intends for this process to conform us to the image of His Son, Jesus Christ and when that is taking place we will definitely be different from the world in all things, and that includes how we rear our children.
In Psalm 131:2 David wrote, Surely I have behaved and quieted myself, as a child that is weaned of his mother: my soul is even as a weaned child.
David saw it as his personal responsibility to behave, compose or calm himself, and measured his success in doing so as a child of God by the grace and help of God.
Self-control versus control by others.
Think about your children.
Are you often having to pull on the reins of their life so that they stay on the narrow way?
Or do they have it in them to do it by themselves?
Self-control versus Momma, Daddy or authority control.
These are the two choices for there is no middle ground.
Babies do not have self-control and God gives babies parents to do their part.
And their part is to teach baby, toddler, youngster, teenager to be able to control him or herself.
Generally God give parents 18 years or so to bring this about.
But a good bit of the effort should be done in the early years for a child should become a valuable asset to the family if self-control is gained early.
Dr. Hobbs wrote in his book, “For the Good of Your Child”,
The importance of the task, along with the difficulties to be encountered over a long period of time, requires a degree of dedication and commitment to which few are willing to consign themselves; however, I undertake the task of writing these principles in the hope that at some point in time some young mother (for the primary task falls to her), who is in dead earnest about the task of rearing her boy or girl to be a dedicated and prepared servant for the Lord Jesus Christ, will come upon them and will dedicate herself to this royal and glorious task.
We are all adults here at least as far as the government is concerned but unless a person has self-control this definition is faulty.
But in having self-control we have learned that we cannot say whatever comes to our mind or that we cannot let ourselves go and do whatever we would like at the moment.
Adults are adults when they have learned to control themselves and not to give in to their emotions.
Adulthood is not a matter of some agreed upon age.
Think about this when you see events taking place around our country where “If it feels good do it” and “Let it all hang out” are rampant.
These are the mantras of legally defined adults who continue to be children because they have not grasped self-control.
Satan hates God and God’s ways, and Satan always promotes the opposite of what God loves.
God created humankind to grow to be adults with adult qualities so therefore Satan wishes to have his children remain children.
Isaiah spoke of a nation of children who forgot God.
Isaiah 3:1-5, For, behold, the Lord, the Lord of hosts, doth take away from Jerusalem and from Judah the stay and the staff, the whole stay of bread, and the whole stay of water. 2 The mighty man, and the man of war, the judge, and the prophet, and the prudent, and the ancient, 3 The captain of fifty, and the honourable man, and the counsellor, and the cunning artificer, and the eloquent orator. 4 And I will give children to be their princes, and babes shall rule over them. 5 And the people shall be oppressed, every one by another, and every one by his neighbour: the child shall behave himself proudly against the ancient, and the base against the honourable.
What had happened here?
Children who looked like adults were put in charge, not having been reared to be adults.
How current can you get as we see the world being run by children, children without self-control, children who simply operate by emotion not having been taught the skills to reason.
Children are prone to emotional outbursts but when these come God means for them to be a signal to parents to engage in self-control training.
Parents, do you listen for these God given signals?
God builds them in children with fallen natures to move you to act.
And until the child is taught self-control you are to perform the function of control.
Class work is to start to teach that pouting, temper tantrums, and other forms of emotional displays are to be squelched by self-control.
We certainly are creatures of emotion but emotion that is part of the old nature is to be governed by self-control for uncontrolled emotions lead to every evil imaginable.
Unrestrained emotions can make us ineffective and not capable of being used by God.
Why are there so many disorders in children today?
Most likely many of them are due to uncontrolled emotions due to lack of self-control.
But God has brought children into this world with the capability of being taught this important asset.
The words of David again as recorded in the Amplified Bible, I have calmed and quieted my soul.
Think about this with regard to your children.
Do they have control of themselves to sit quietly and calm themselves?
Today is the day of constant activity for children.
Why is that?
Can it be attributed to the lack of self-control on their part?
Is it an acceptance of failure on the part of parents to teach self-control and instead encourage activity as an excuse designed to shirk responsibility.
Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself.
Joseph, tempted by his master’s wife fled and got him out of a dangerous situation.
What was in these two men that made this difference in their lives?
They had both been trained in the art of self-government.
They both knew they were to take charge of their responses to unfavorable situations for the sake of their personal testimony as well as their own mental health.
Again quoting Dr. Hobbs: Children can be taught to “flee youthful lusts’, to “resist the devil”, to behave themselves, to calm themselves, however it will take much perseverance over many years. There will be times when you think all is lost and that nothing has been accomplished of a permanent nature. Take heart, keep on keeping on, and you will succeed in the end. Child training is not a sprint race. It is a marathon, and the fastest starter is usually the first to fall out of the race. Prepare for the long haul, and success is more attainable.
I have said that God has put in children signals to their parents to act on their behalf. It is a call to help!
Unfortunately many parents are not good signal receivers, perhaps not having been themselves taught the right way.
But I have observed time and time again in my children and other’s children when parents responded to the signals and acted rightly upon them, great gratitude expressed physically was exhibited from the child for helping them overcome their fallen nature.
So many times after correction takes place children will run to their father or mother and show great endearment to them.
This is God’s reward to parents for doing right on behalf of their children.
So what should you do to teach self-control?
Take wiggling children. What is going on?
Well for one thing their body is in control.
It wants to wiggle and no one is to stop it.
But children are given by self-control to tell their body to not wiggle.
And it is the parent’s job to teach this by requiring them to sit or stand perfectly still for short periods of time.
At first it may be for one minute but it should lead to longer times of calm and peace, otherwise known as self-control.
Another exercise concerns the matter of listening to instruction for listening requires self-control.
It takes self-control on the part of the child to stand perfectly still and look at you with engaged ears while you talk to him or her.
You may begin this exercise with wandering eyes and disengaged ears but start it out with standing still and add the ears and eyes in further lessons.
Church services are another place where self-control should be taught.
At our church our nursery is available for a few years but there comes a time when your child ought to be in the services and learn to sit still quietly.
They are to be there to listen and be engaged as much as possible in what is going on.
It is not a time for toys, books, games, videos, Sunday school papers or other items designed to occupy a child during services.
They are to see and observe what adults do and many will mimic them by holding hymnals and bulletins and will even try to sing.
If they are constantly diverted by something else, when are they to become a part of a congregation that shows reverence for the Word of God by developing a habit of being still and listening?
And don’t encourage children to sleep in church so that you don’t have to attend to teaching self-control.
At the beginning of their attendance in the services keep them awake for a portion of the service and eventually wean them from sleep at all.
Certainly no child should be sleeping during the service beyond school age.
Samuel was probably taught to do this by the age of three.
Now as to temper tantrums there is never a time or place for those and that includes your home.
If it happens in places where you are limited in your response, quietly and without emotion, remind him or her that it will be taken care of as soon as you get home.
If the tantrum won’t stop, stop what you are doing, even to the point of leaving a full basket at the food store, telling the manager what you are doing, and take the child to a place where you can deal with this lack of self-control.
Take time to remove your own emotion from the situation and deal with your child as an adult with reason.
What about children who in their lack of self-control damage property?
Certainly there must be a cost to them for their emotional outbursts.
Children at any age must be made to feel that the improper display of emotions and lack of self-control is not profitable.
Perhaps an Old Testament form of restitution should be carried out, such as a price of double or triple the cost of the damage.
Figure out something to insure that that kind of discipline problem will not occur again and self-control will govern.
And lastly head for a time when all responsibilities will be carried out with a pleasant attitude.
Pouting is evidence of not controlling the body.
Self-pity for what the child thinks for being given such a big load is rebellion and indicates a problem with self-control.
Listen and heed this lesson and I guarantee you a happier home.