Instilling Temperance in Children (I)

Instilling Temperance in Children

You see the gadget advertised on TV and immediately you want to have it. The price is not the problem; you just want to have it. You want to experience that pleasure of buying or having. And so you buy the gadget. You are thrilled with the features of this wonderful device. Six months later, you see another advert of the latest brand of the gadget. Even though the gadget you already have is still satisfactory in terms of what it does for you, you are no longer satisfied with it. You must get the latest device to experience that pleasure of having again. And you buy it. You lack temperance.

You see a fashion item and just cannot resist the impulse to buy it. You purchase it and in a few weeks’ time, you see another fashion item online. You already have such items but you consider that they are not the latest. Before you know it, you click the “Buy Now” button. Temperance is lacking.

Temperance is a habitual moderation in the indulgence of the passions or appetites. Some call it self-mastery. The lack of temperance has made it easy for consumerism to thrive in the world.

Parents need to instill temperance in their children. Temperance is a virtue, a cardinal virtue. It is understandable that as a parent you would want nothing but the best for your child. You want to give them the best education you can afford, buy them the nicest dresses, and even take them overseas so they can experience another part of the world. Now that is what you want for your child. But the question is, “What really is best for your child?”

As you bring up your child, bear in mind that the goal is to raise an adult not a child. So you should think of what your child will be and not just what he will do. A lot of parents plan the future of their children but limit it to their career or profession. But children need to be raised to become loving spouses and parents and not just skilled professionals. There are a lot of successful engineers, lawyers, doctors whose private lives are in a mess. Success in a profession does not compensate for failure at home. So children should be taught virtues and one of the most important is temperance.

A lot of advertising is aimed at young people whose purchasing power has increased in recent years. Different brands come into fashion and quickly fall out of fashion. People are not contented with what they have; hence, they buy the latest items. All the blame is not on the advertisers, some go to the parents responsible for properly bringing up their children.

It is understandable that parents do not want their children to lack what other children have, or what they themselves did not have growing up. However, this should not make parents give their children everything they desire. Children should be taught not to make comparisons with others nor try to be like others in everything. In teaching this, the materialistic mentality is avoided. Where the society teaches, “You are what you have,” teach your children, “Who you are is more important than materials.” It alright to say “No” sometimes.

Teaching your child temperance is not all about not having. It can be taught positively as well so as to help him understand how to properly use what he has. A child who grew up with a generous alms-giver as a father gives priority to people over things.

With regard to money, you do not have to be too generous with your child. It is by this means he learns how to properly use what he already has. They may want so much money but let them earn it. They are better able to manage well the money they earn and also buy wisely. Extravagance is avoided.

This write-up continues in the next post.

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