This week, our oldest son (age 4) began a youth Taekwondo class. I shuddered at the realization that this was the beginning of becoming the “chauffeur” along with all my other duties. Over the years as a teacher and coach I have seen young kids barraged with extra-curricular activities, and it was exhausting to just hear about their weeks! So, we want to be very purposeful in the activities we choose.
At 4 years old, the options (thankfully) are limited to just a few in our community, tee-ball and this taekwondo program. We skipped tee-ball even though baseball is our favorite sport. Knowing our schedules, we didn’t want to commit to anything at that point. No matter what activity you choose for your children, whether music, art, athletics, or foreign languages, I believe there should be “teachable moments” for building their character.
We are excited about the youth Taekwondo class! My husband and I have taken some classes they offer for adults and we trust the instructors in their knowledge, discipline, and overall structure. The first night, they outlined the tenets of Taekwondo: courtesy, integrity, perseverance, self-control, and an indomitable spirit. Those sound a lot like the Fruits of the Spirit listed in Galatians 5! I find it beneficial in my parenting and spiritual life to find connections to the Word. So, here are just three of the larger lessons I want to apply from signing my child up for Taekwondo.
Keep Your Commitments
We want our children to understand that “we don’t quit!” Even with small tasks, if my son or daughter gets angry or frustrated and wants to walk away, we don’t let them. They finish what they start and with a good attitude. This class is an hour every week for 6 weeks and then we can choose to sign up again. That means every week for an hour, our son will be there. He made a commitment. It doesn’t matter if he always likes it or if it gets too hard, he will be there. If we quit in the middle of anything, there can be no reward, no growth, no learning. Isn’t that the way we should think about our Christian life? We are promised that this life will be full of pain, struggle, temptation, and persecution, but that if we are faithful servants our reward will be greater than the struggle.
II Timothy 4:7-8 “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing.”
No doubt, some moments, some days, some years will be harder than others! But, just like I don’t want my son to quit when something gets too hard, God doesn’t want us to grow weary and quit. Galatians 6:9 “And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart.”
Strength of Heart
Obviously, this particular class will produce physical strength, but the lesson I really want my son to learn is that strength only comes when more weight is applied to the muscles. There is no way to build up without some opposing force. Likewise, in our Christian walk, we will be tested, but that is only to produce what we need to reach our goal.
James 1:2-4 “Count it all joy my brethren, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces streadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.”
Importance of Self-Control
I found over 90 verses that are in some way related to maintaining self-control. That usually means it’s pretty important. Some may argue there is no way to really control your thoughts and actions, but if the inspired Word says it’s possible and commands us to do it, then there must be a way. This year, we get to watch Olympic athletes compete who are the closest thing to “super humans” we have. They control their diet, exercise, and emotions better than the rest of us and that’s why they are Olympians.
1 Corinthians 10:25-27 “Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. So I do not run aimlessly, I do not box as one beating the air. But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should become disqualified.” As Christians we are to exercise self-control over our emotions, speech, and thoughts.
Proverbs 16:32 “He who is slow to anger is better than the mighty (warrior), And he who rules his spirit than he who takes a city.”
Galatians 5:22-24 “But the fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.
“Proverbs 21:23 “Whoever guards his mouth and tongue keeps his soul from troubles.”
If we want our children to learn these Christian principles, we are first responsible for being the example in word and deed. Second, we should be exposing them to as many opportunities to practice these characteristics as we can.
Ladies, as Christian women, wives, and perhaps mothers, we are often overwhelmed with the cares of this life. I hope that you take comfort in the fact that you have been promised a heavenly reward because of the commitment you made to Christ. Do not allow yourself to grow weary in being a servant for Christ. Take joy in the fact that your spiritual muscles are growing when you face opposition. And finally, exercise that self-control that will ultimately keep you unspotted from this world.
Written By: Blythe Smith
Blythe Smith is a Christian wife, mother and educator. A 2004 graduate of Freed-Hardeman University, she currently resides in Demopolis, AL where she serves as a middle school teacher. She is the mother of two children (Langston, 4 & Lakyn, 2) and is expecting her third child in October. She is actively involved in the ministries of the Greensboro and Linden congregations where her husband is serving as the pulpit preacher.