Currently, I have three children in my home. My twins who are sixteen and my grandson who is four. Since my twins are older and soon to be out of the house, what I try to instill in them most right now is self-discipline. As I listen to them talk about their goals and dreams for the future, I think about all of the challenges they will face simply making an attempt to reach those goals and dreams. When those challenges come, without self-discipline, they may quit before they even get started good.
During one of our conversations about their future, I again brought up developing self-discipline. As I was explaining that self-discipline was going to be an important aspect of being successful later on in life, my son, the funny one, said, “I’m good. I know how to control myself.” My boy, he’s got ears but they do not listen.
So I challenged him and his sister with a simple task…make your bed every day, without fail, for thirty days. My son pipes up again, “that’s easy. I can do that!” “Great!” I replied and went on to explain that self-discipline is the ability to control one’s feelings and overcome one’s weaknesses and, most importantly for me, the ability to pursue what one thinks is right despite temptations to abandon it.
Making their beds is the one thing I have to constantly get on to them about. Growing up, my mom would always say, “if you can’t do something as simple as make your bed everyday, how can you expect to be successful at the larger things in life?” Of course, I had no idea what that meant at the time. Like my kids, I thought it was just a trick to get me to clean my room. Here I am some thirty years later, still making my bed every morning. For me, my day isn’t going to go well if I don’t make my bed. If I could discipline myself to do something as simple as make my bed every day, then I could meet and overcome other challenges I faced, those that I cared deeply about and those I could careless about. However, no matter the challenge, a little self-discipline would help me along the way.
How did the challenge go, you ask? Well, I posed the challenge to them about three months ago and my daughter was able to hang in there a bit longer than my son. Upon coming home from school everyday, she said she liked coming into a clean room. It made her feel better after a long day. She still puts forth an effort to keep her space cleaner and make her bed daily. There are days when she is running late and doesn’t do it but overall it is much better than it was before the challenge. Now, my son on the other hand, well he got frustrated with the whole thing about a week in. He said he really didn’t understand how making his bed would help him be successful later on in life. He went on to explain that he was going to play in the NFL and rich people had people to make their beds for them.
My boy had a point. Maybe people with money had people to make their beds for them. My advice to him was something else my mother used to say, “don’t let nobody else do for you what you can do for yourself. Train yourself and receive your own rewards.” I explained to him what I have always gathered from this little statement is that I should be building myself up in all areas of my life and not waiting on some else to do it for me.
As always, my hope is that my words and actions will lead and guide my kids. As grandma used to say, “you can lead a horse to the water but you can’t make him drink.”
One more for the road…
Psalm 19:14 ~ May these words of my mouth and this meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer. 🙂