Helping Our Children Walk in Wisdom…Self Control

“Ponder all the life-implications of a well-controlled adult and see if he will not look back on his devoted mother with all the gratitude his life can muster and attribute to her the bulk of his earthly successes!”

Mothering became a full time job I knew I had to devote my life to when I began to look at Scripture and understand my responsibility to impart spiritual wisdom to my children.  That it was more than crayons and protecting them from germs and making sure they ate enough carrots.  It was a dividing line between what others expect and what God requires.

This “imparting of wisdom” is not just a nice parenting term to toss around; it plays itself out day by day, hour by hour, in the details of life.  Someone is daily beside our children pointing them to wisdom or foolishness, teaching them in all things, whether right or wrong.  I believe that one should be father and mother.  And if father works outside the home, the mother is given the bulk of the task of daily training.

Anyone home all day with little ones (who understands the “imparting of wisdom”) knows the enormous time and mental energy it takes to raise children.  My sister-in-law and I discussed parenting issues the other day and I thought as we talked, “it’s no wonder motherhood–24-hour motherhood–is so unpopular….it’s hard!” Do hard things.

These verses we read this morning are just one small area that spoke volumes to me about my responsibility to teach my children to walk in wisdom:

“Who is wise among you?  Let him shew out of a good conversation his works with meekness of wisdom….For where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work….But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield,  full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy.  And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace of them that make peace.”

Boy if that’s not chocked full of parenting!  After all, how does a person learn “good conversation” full of meekness and gentleness and willing to yield?  Because believe me, my children didn’t come that way.  I’m not wired that way.  It’s a daily seeking of life-changing wisdom by all of us!  Me from my Father, and my children from me.

The Lord has really been showing me lately the importance of our speech–the words we say, and especially how we say them. If you listen closely, children do what comes naturally…they use volume and intensity to get what they want. Sometimes they use threats and insults.  It’s a simple matter of a lack of self-control mingled with sinfulness.  As we point to the sin of it, God begins a work in their hearts.  In the mean time, we help them with habits that will meet that work.  Self-control is not usually common to us; it is a trait that must be learned.  (And unfortunately, a very important trait that many never learn that later has devastating consequences in their lives.)   That one trait can take years!  And mothers, we are the primary catalyst for that transformation in our children.  Sorry, we just are, as heavy as that is.

Let’s get practical…

The earlier you can start working on self-control and its practical applications the better.  Sometimes a 7 or 8 month-old infant can demonstrate anger during a diaper change and a gentle speaking to her will begin to train her to understand self-control.

Do you have a 1 or 2 year old that has begun his natural responses to not getting his way?  Does he scream or hit when another child has something he wants?  Begin to replace his natural reaction with a wise one.   (And discipline him when it becomes defiance or disobedience to your instruction.) Show him the right response, the right words, the right behavior.  Tell him “No, don’t say….if you want that cup say….”

I’m trying to work with my 3-year old, specifically on her tone of voice.  Again, it’s quite natural to raise her voice when she’s frustrated (it’s natural for me ;-)) but by stopping her when I catch it, and simply demonstrating a more controlled response helps her to train herself to display self-control.

And, beauty of motherhood, if I’m aware of my job to teach these traits to them, I must, myself, be given to exercising self-control and gentleness.

This one thing–responding to life with self-control–could it be the very foundation of pointing our children to joy and contentment in life?  Ponder all the life-implications of a well-controlled adult and see if he will not look back on his devoted mother with all the gratitude his life can muster and attribute to her the bulk of his earthly successes!

“He who walks with the wise will become wise; but a companion of fools suffers harm.” Proverbs 13:20

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20 Responses to “Helping Our Children Walk in Wisdom…Self Control”

  1. Amy Roberts says:

    What a wonderful post. As godly parents, we are responsible for teaching our children the correct way to respond in situations. 1 Corinthians 10: 13 states that “God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you can endure.” I believe we are responsible for showing our children the “way out” from the temptation of sin (whether it be anger, selfishness, etc.)so that they can respond in a godly way. It is not enough to discipline our children for doing wrong. We must show them the correct way. Otherwise, they will just become frustrated and angry. Thanks for this post.

  2. This is a challenge for us just now – tone of voice – my almost nine year old has “Mom-speak” where her siblings are concerned – curt and a little harsh….hmmmm, wonder where she picked that up? It’s a hard look in the mirror, and it’s especially offensive when you hear it coming from a usually soft spoken child. Ack – what we get ourselves into without even realizing.

    When I apologized to her for having sounded ugly, and letting her think that’s how people should talk to each other, she patted me on the shoulder and said “it’s okay, I know you can do better, Mom.” Parrots, I tell you.

  3. Word Warrior says:

    cottage child,

    LOL…yes, motherhood is the most humbling of professions. I still say that has something to do with that “she shall be saved in child-bearing” verse.

  4. Christie says:

    Thanks so much for the post! I feel as if I’m parenting myself while parenting my 4yo DD. Training her is actually training me! Last night I was in tears and my husband got up to get me a napkin. When he handed it to me, my initial response was to be offended (it wasn’t what I wanted at the time) – but then I realized, “What would I have 4yoDD do? – say Thank you.” so I did.

    Amazing how we go through life reacting and never stopping to think how we ought to respond correctly. So, in the process of training my daughter, I am re-evaluating all these situations for her – and finding that I need to change my responses myself! What a blessing to be given a window to myself through my DD (maybe that’s why God gave me the first one who is so much like me in personality – He’s teaching me through my training of her!)

  5. Christie says:

    My pastor has an excellent sermon on “Saved in Childbearing” where he unravels what that phrase really means. I cannot remember the crux of the message, but I do remember that it fit in so beautifully with the Gospel and the rest of the Bible. There were no contradictions in the end. The sermon is available for download here: http://www.sermonaudio.com/sermoninfo.asp?SID=1010614283

  6. Kelly L says:

    Yuck! I don’t like this post. OK, I really do. Only a fool despises discipline, right? Something to work on, especially with my tone. Thanks.

  7. Rebecca S. says:

    Hi Kelly,
    This post was particularly convicting and it has pierced straight thru to my heart. Your posts are consistently challenging me in so many areas and all I can say is THANK YOU!!!

  8. Kim M says:

    Kelly, I so needed this post.
    I am trying to use Scripture to help out tones around here. I made a verse sign for my kitchen (since it is where we spend so much time) using Proverbs 16:24.

    I am also trying to shadow my children more often so that I will be on hand to correct and train them. That verse “A child left to himself brings his mother shame” resonates. If I ever get distracted and let my children babysit themselves is when they misbehave the most. Thank you for this timely post. This is where I am right now!

  9. Word Warrior says:

    Kelly L.,

    Lol…you need to know that I often write about the very things I struggle the most with–kind of my own journaling about what needs to be dealt with in my own life. I know *what* to do…so, I don’t like this post either if it makes you feel better 😉

  10. Word Warrior says:

    Kelly L.,

    Lol…you need to know that I often write about the very things I struggle the most with–kind of my own journaling about what needs to be dealt with in my own life. I know *what* to do…so, I don’t like this post either if it makes you feel better 😉

    Thank you, Rebecca!

  11. Word Warrior says:

    Kelly L.,

    Lol…you need to know that I often write about the very things I struggle the most with–kind of my own journaling about what needs to be dealt with in my own life. I know *what* to do…so, I don’t like this post either if it makes you feel better 😉

    Thank you, Rebecca!

  12. Word Warrior says:

    Kelly L.,

    Lol…you need to know that I often write about the very things I struggle the most with–kind of my own journaling about what needs to be dealt with in my own life. I know *what* to do…so, I don’t like this post either if it makes you feel better 😉

    Thank you, Rebecca!

  13. Word Warrior says:

    Kelly L.,

    Lol…you need to know that I often write about the very things I struggle the most with–kind of my own journaling about what needs to be dealt with in my own life. I know *what* to do…so, I don’t like this post either if it makes you feel better 😉

    Thank you, Rebecca!

  14. Mrs. Price says:

    Thank you for such a timely post. I am dealing with this with my 1 year old son. He is as stubborn as a certain mommy of his. Amazing how reading Bible stories and sing Bible songs seems to calm him. Thank you for the reminder about checking my attitude.

  15. Charity says:

    Just last night my 2yr old says to me in an angry tone “You no tell me stop!” It stopped me in my tracks and I looked at her thinking to myself…’what? you can’t even wipe your own bottom, and here you stand talking to me like this?’ Funny how all that comes out of them at such a young age. It’s those moments of oppertunity to discipline and instruct them that I pray daily that I will not miss by responding harshly or being frustrated, because then I’ve done just what I need to be teaching them not to do. What a learning and growing process motherhood is.

  16. Linda says:

    I actually posted on the topic of Mothering by Example yesterday. I too have been convicted on this topic of late. So often I am struck by God’s consistency in working through issues with His people individually, and yet growing the church in the same direction as a whole. It is awesome, and such an amazing thing of which to be a part… I appreciate the transparency and encouragement you offer in sharing your own struggles and lessons learned. You are beautiful witnesses.

  17. Trisha says:

    Ugh, tone is often so hard to control. Thank you for the reminder not to grow weary in well doing. It is painful to see my sins in my children, and yet, it’s a reminder, too, that any fruit they bear is by the grace of God. Such an encouraging post!

  18. Jana says:

    *SIGH* I so needed to read this tonight. I have grown so weary in trying to train my chidren. My husband is absolutely on-board with everything we need to do to train our children the right way, but I feel so overwhelmed because it mainly falls on my shoulders. This was a good reminder of WHY I am doing it and HOW to go about it. Thank you!

  19. […] gets distracted.  Only when a mother understands the weight of her job does she fully understand the need to be focused, ready and available for the task.  Being at home […]

  20. […] gets distracted.  Only when a mother understands the weight of her job does she fully understand the need to be focused, ready and available for the task.  Being at home […]

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