Help Your Kids Fight Deadly Sins with Life-Giving Virtues
- Tuesday, March 31, 2009
Whenever your kids do become angry for the right reasons, give them legitimate ways of expressing their frustration or resolving injustices instead of backing them into a corner. Provide a safe place for them to process offenses and let off steam in healthy ways. Teach your kids not to retaliate through revenge when someone hurts or wrongs them. Show them how to rely on God’s power to help them forgive. Help your kids continue to keep in mind that they’re accountable to God and others for what they say and do – both good and bad.
Overcome gluttony. Gluttony is the habit of eating or drinking too much. If you allow your kids to feed a voracious appetite, that appetite – instead of their faith – will end up controlling their lives. Help your kids accept and celebrate their bodies the way God made them. Teach your kids the importance of caring properly for their bodies through healthy eating habits and regular exercise. Show them how to make decisions with self-discipline rather than just indulging in whatever looks and feels good at the time. Train their palates to appreciate healthy foods by avoiding junk food (like sugary, fatty, processed meals and snacks) and making the effort to regularly prepare food with fresh, wholesome ingredients. Instead of just giving your kids whatever they want to eat and drink, keep helping them make healthy choices.
Overcome greed. Greed is too great a desire for money or worldly goods. Combat greed by helping your kids develop into generous people. Don’t focus on stuff like so many others in our culture do. Rather than simply buying your kids whatever they want, intentionally limit the amount of stuff they have to instill character in them. When they want something extra, try to have them earn the money to buy it themselves so they can connect the dots between value and effort. Model a simple lifestyle for them through your own buying choices. Teach your kids the vital difference between focusing on what they can get in this world (as consumers) and what they can give in this world (as contributors).
Whenever you’re confronted with an opportunity to help poor people, let your kids see you respond faithfully rather than with excuses. Let them see you treat people in need with love instead of criticizing them. Encourage your kids to give sacrificially rather than placing arbitrary limits on their giving.
Overcome sloth. Sloth is laziness that keeps us from doing our duty to God and humanity. Teach your kids to work hard, pursue wisdom, and invest their lives in what matters most. Help them lay aside immediate gratification for the long-term rewards of diligence. Assign your kids chores and other regular responsibilities. Resist procrastination by encouraging them to do their most difficult tasks first so they can reap the fruit of that discipline later. Take a hard look at their schedules and consider whether they’re busy with activities that are truly important, or are merely spending lots of time on unimportant leisure activities. Limit the time they spend watching TV, surfing the Internet, and engaging in other non-productive tasks. Redirect them to activities that will accomplish better purposes in their lives.
Don’t back down when your kids try to avoid work they need to do – from doing their homework to cleaning their rooms. Require them to do their work before they do whatever fun activity they’d rather do, no matter how much hassle you may have to go through in the process. Even though it’s often easier to do tasks for your kids yourself rather than convince them to do it and follow through to make sure it’s done, resist the urge to do for your kids what they really should be doing for themselves. Whenever your kids give into self-pity about the amount of work they have to do, give them a pep talk and urge them to get moving. Don’t accept mediocrity in your kids; demand excellence by encouraging them to do their best at whatever tasks they do. Teach your kids how to effectively budget the limited amount of time and energy they have everyday so they’ll learn how to set the right priorities.
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