A City Broken: Teaching Our Children Self-Control

a_city_brokenThe Bible teaches us that a man without self-control is like a city broken into and left without walls (Proverbs 25:28). We are open, exposed, and basically waiting to be attacked. Our defenses are down, available to an enemy who seeks to plunder. One advantage to homeschooling is that as we train our children academically, we are also training them in character. We are helping form the adults they will one day become. Training their character is just as important as training their minds; in fact, they go hand in hand.

So what do we do when our children are defenseless and vulnerable? How do we help them rebuild their fortress, securing themselves from the inevitable attack of the world and its influence? Just like building a city, we build their character one brick at a time. We need to help them form their foundation, build their walls, and place guards to keep watch.

Forming the Foundation. In I Corinthians 3:11 we are told, “For no one can lay a foundation other than the one which is laid, which is Jesus Christ”. The foundation of all that we do, should be Christ. Our children should be steeped in the Word; knowing not only what they believe, but why they believe it. This will help them better understand why they need to have self-control.

Build the Walls.  In order to gain self-control, our children need to be given the proper tools; they need instruction and a lot of encouragement. There are some great steps that we can take to help them along the way.

  • Lead by example – Our children should see us exhibit these qualities. While we won’t be perfect, we can be a model and grow together.
  • Teach them to recognize – Children need to be able to identify when something is becoming a problem, long before it actually is a problem. Recognize the warning signs and instruct them how to avoid trouble.
  • Teach them to pray – The first, and best thing, to do when control starts to become an issue, is to pray! Let the Lord have control of the situation, not your emotions.
  • Teach them Scripture – Meditating on the Word of God is a great way to help them be filled with the Holy Spirit and not hurtful emotion.
  • Teach them to think – Show the kids how to work through the emotion and be logical. Whether it’s taking a walk, doing some deep breathing, or distracting yourself with another activity, we need to take a minute to reasonably work through the situation.
  • Teach them to act – Identifying the problem is only half the battle, we now need to resolve the issue. Form a “game plan” and then make it happen.

Place guards to watch. “Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it,” Proverbs 4:23. Let forgiveness and righteousness be your armor; allowing nothing evil to enter in and being quick to overlook the fault in others.

Whether you are doing arithmetic, piano, or taking that fun field trip; self-control is a vital lesson being learned. With grace and a lot of encouragement, our children will learn to use temperance in their daily lives, growing into the people they were called to be.

Let the Lord build and guard your children; with Him, you can’t go wrong. “…Unless the Lord builds the house, those who build it labor in vain. Unless the Lord watches over the city, the watchman stays awake in vain.”
~Psalm 127:1

Your Turn!: How do you instill self-control in your children? Is there a practical way that you safeguard them from emotional outbursts?

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I Can’t Homeschool: I Lack Self Control

i_cant_homeschoolEncouragement for families unsure of the adventure called homeschooling.

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Homeschooling can seem like a daunting journey, especially for those who are new to the concept. We are unsure of where to start, overwhelmed by the notion of taking on our children’s education, and feel as if we are not enough. One of the many hurdles parents must conquer is fear of lack of self-control. Why would we consider homeschooling a bunch of unruly children when we can’t even control ourselves half the time?

It might seem like homeschoolers have it all together; often, that is the image being portrayed to those around us. We not only school our children, all four of them, but maintain a clean house, always find awesome field trips to go on, have time for ministry, and are pros in the kitchen. The images we post on Instagram would lead you to believe this. Our Facebook posts often share our incredible journeys and advancements in learning. Tweets tell others how much fun we’re having at the moment.

While I certainly hope this is generally true of most homeschooling families – I’d like to think we have fun and enjoy our kids – the truth is not so perfect. The truth is… we’re all lacking somewhere.

I have yet to meet a parent who “has it all together”. Oh, I’ve met some wonderful, loving, Christian families (don’t get me wrong), but, they are not perfect. Those who have been homeschooling a little longer are not doing so because they have reached perfection or have mastered the art of self-control. Rather, they homeschool through the moments of testing and emerge the wiser.

Rest assured, we all have our moments. Let’s be honest. Some of us lack patience (probably a great deal of us); some are lazy. Others stress our children out with high expectations, too much work, or lack of involvement. None of us is perfect.

Here’s the beautiful thing. God didn’t call us to homeschool because we had it all together or because we were such incredible people. He called us to homeschooling because He wanted this for our children and He asked us to be faithful. He isn’t asking you to be perfect, He’s asking you to be obedient to His call.

Each of us is still a work in progress, being molded by our Creator into something better. Allow God to use your imperfect self to bring Him glory. Step out in faith, knowing He will see you through. You can do all things in Christ!

“Not that I have already obtained it or have already become perfect, but I press on so that I may lay hold of that for which also I was laid hold of by Christ Jesus”
Philippians 3:12

🔔Time To Chime In: How is God using your imperfections for His glory?

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