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OPINION: Self-control is great protection from ruin

by Annette Beard | October 6, 2021 at 3:00 a.m.

When I was young, on Sundays, after church and lunch, our family often went to my great-grandmother's house. She believed children were to be seen and not heard, so my brothers, cousins and I went outside or to the screened-in porch to play. The adults drank tea and coffee in the living room and visited. I was never privy to those conversations.

There was no yelling, loud talking or "horse-play" allowed in the house. Children were taught to show respect for and defer to their elders.

Children were taught there were times to be quiet and attentive -- at the dinner table, during family devotions and at church.

Nowadays, it seems parents have abdicated any authority over their children saying: "Well, I just can't make her be quiet." "She doesn't want to wear a bib." "He won't sit still." "He doesn't like his car seat."

Self-control, self-restraint, self-discipline seem to have been entirely forgotten in parenting. In fact, it seems far too many young parents don't even practice self-control themselves nor realize the importance of it.

When lack of self-discipline gets one in trouble, too often the perpetrator blames the authority such as blaming the police officer when one gets a ticket for speeding or the judge for imposing a fine.

In the 1960s, we heard the mantra "if it feels good do it" and "you deserve a break today." The philosophies that spawned those beliefs have resulted in at least two generations of people who do not know how to resist temptation and curb their inappropriate desires. We are all tempted to overindulge and act inappropriately at times, but using self-control and denying ourselves, practicing delayed gratification, is essential to maturity.

Scripture tells us: "Like a city whose walls are broken through is a person who lacks self-control." (Proverbs 25:28) and "Better a patient person than a warrior, one with self-control than one who takes a city." (Proverbs 16:32)

Like the historical cities walled to protect from marauders or the western American forts to protect from attack of enemies, self-control protects one from temptations that would destroy one.


Editor's note: Annette Beard is the managing editor of The Times of Northeast Benton County, chosen the best small weekly newspaper in Arkansas for five years. A native of Louisiana, she moved to northwest Arkansas in 1980 to work for the Benton County Daily Record. She has nine children, six sons-in-law, nine grandsons and three granddaughters. The opinions expressed are those of the author. She can be reached at [email protected]

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