During the Awesome Kids Ministry service last Sunday, we shared the value of self-control to kids.
I was reminded of the famous marshmallow test back in 1960s. Researchers submitted hundreds of four-year-olds to an ingenious little test of willpower: the kids were placed in a small room with a marshmallow or other tempting food and told they could either eat the treat now, or, if they could hold out for another 15 minutes until the researcher returned, they could have two.
Most children said they would wait. But some failed to resist the pull of temptation for even a minute. Many others struggled a little longer before eventually giving in.
The most successful participants figured out how to distract themselves from the treat’s seduction — by turning around, covering their eyes or kicking the desk, for instance — and delayed gratification for the full 15 minutes.
Follow-up studies on these preschoolers found that those who were able to wait the 15 minutes were significantly less likely to have problems with behavior, drug addiction or obesity by the time they were in high school, compared with kids who gobbled the snack in less than a minute. The gratification-delayers also scored an average of 210 points higher on the SAT.
The test is a measure of a child’s ability to delay gratification, which subsequent research has shown to be linked to all sorts of positive outcomes, like better grades, good behavior and even healthy body mass index.
Self-control was never easy but it has a reward.
A door knob hanger coloring activity capped the day. They brought it home and served as a reminder not only for them but also for their family.
Self-control is allowing God to be in control of your will and heart. This will allow us to have discipline and restraint with obedience to God and others. It is not letting distractions derail or remove us from His will and plan so we will not be held back with what Christ called us to do.
Let me share this prayer of self-control:
Dear Lord, help us to know ourselves. Teach us to recognize our weaknesses and work to walk in holiness.
Let us repent, and follow You in all things.
Thank You for Your unendeding grace and mercy toward us when we need it most.
Help us to trust You with our lives.
In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Be blessed always!