When it’s time to brush your teeth in the morning or at bedtime, how do you feel? It might not be your favorite thing to do. But you brush anyway because you know that taking care of your teeth will help you avoid cavities, have a nice smile and keep you healthy. When you brush your teeth — even though it’s a chore — you are practicing self-discipline.

The word “discipline” has a few meanings. It can mean training. Every time you practice self-discipline, you are training — just like athletes train for competitions and musicians practice for concerts. Self-discipline isn’t always easy. 

In fact, the Bible says that discipline can be painful in the moment, but it pays off later in wonderful ways. Athletes sometimes feel sore after training for many hours. But they know their practice will help them do well in competitions.

Another definition of “discipline” is correction of a bad behavior. If you break your parents’ rules, they will probably discipline you. If your mom sends you to your room because you said unkind words to your brother, it probably doesn’t feel good. But she is training you to avoid saying mean things in the future.

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Hebrews 12:11

  • Think of activities you do that require discipline (for example, playing sports, learning an instrument, reading for 20 minutes every day). How has your self-discipline helped you?  
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  • Ask your parents why they discipline you. (Hint: It’s probably because they love you, not because they like to make you cry!)
  • Make a list or draw a picture of ways you can practice more self-discipline.
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  • Ask God to give you more self-discipline.
  • Thank God that you have parents who love you enough to discipline you.
  • Ask that your sponsored child would have the self-discipline to study hard in school.