I don’t know if you realize it, but there are over 75,000 books written on parenting. That doesn’t include all of the podcasts, blogs, and magazine articles thrown into the mix. And no, it’s not lost on me that we are adding to that enormous pile! The question is, with this mountain of information, how in the world is a parent supposed to sift through and determine the priorities for parenting?
There is a lot of outstanding parental advice available. Of course there is probably even more bad parenting information out there. But honestly, when it comes to parenting, there will never be a shortage of principles, tools and skills for us to learn about and improve upon. Which, for my type A personality wife, is almost enough to drive her to drink!
It’s why we pared our years of experience and volumes of parenting books and courses we’ve studied, down to the 3 Most Important Things to Teach Your Child. We know there is so much more to parenting than these three things, but you have to start somewhere! We do unpack these three in our eSeries Parenting with Truth and Grace, but we’ve found that if you can make strides in these three areas, it serves as a foundation for everything else you will do as a parent.
Those three by the way are:
- To Love God
- To Obey You (the parent)
What’s interesting is number 1 & 2 are taken straight from the bible. When they asked Jesus what the greatest commandment was, He said to love God with your whole being. In Ephesians we are given one of the few direct mandates regarding the parent child relationship, as well as the first commandment with a promise… children are to obey their parents. So for the Christian, where those two principles are taken from makes sense, regardless of whether you agree with them or not.
Number three on our list is a little different. Certainly the bible speaks a lot about self-control or self-discipline. But to make the top three might seem like a stretch. Here are three reasons why we feel so passionately about teaching children self-control.
- Self-Control is the character quality that allows your child to live out the other character qualities. That’s right! Without self-control or self-discipline, teaching our children about honesty, integrity, temperance, kindness, becomes an intellectual exercise and not a life changing quality. In other words, to understand what temperance is does little good without the self-control to live it out.
- Forget self-esteem instead focus on self-control. That’s what the research discovered after 15 years of focusing on self-esteem training. The key to a healthy self-esteem is self-control. Think about it, we feel best about who we are when we are able to follow through on the things we believe in.
- Self-Control is a gift we give our children. Some day, Lord willing, all of our kids will leave our home and strike out on their own. Self-control is this sweet gift we send them off with. It will allow them to hold a job, maintain friendships, have a healthy marriage, and be a good parent. Training our kids to have self-control isn’t something we do to them, it’s a gift we give them.
In Volume 4 of our eSeries, Parenting with Truth and Grace, we unpack Self-Control. Here is the link if you’d like to learn more.
In volume four we share some tools that we and others have used to successfully train children in this area of self-control. We answer the question, “Why does self-control matter?” Hint: one reason had to do with the biggest upset in college football history! And so much more!!!
We’d love to hear your thoughts on self-esteem and our three most important things to teach your child. What are your priorities when it comes to parenting?