A few days ago, I took my kids on a two hour drive to do something fun. On the way, we began to talk... I think God had a point when He said teach these things to your children as you walk on the way. On the road, they can not get away, there is little to distract them, and for once, they are interested in talking to mommy. Also, my eyes are on the road, so they don't get that "Uh, oh, mommy is watching you" feeling.
So, as we drove, we began to discuss all sorts of topics. Such as - "yes, you do have hair on your arms, and you will get more in the next year or two as you grow" and "no, even if your sister does have more hair on her arms than you do, you will not talk about that. Girls have problems enough with how they see their bodies, and you can begin to practice only saying good things about your sister's body even now when she is very small and doesn't seem to care." We branched out into discussions of teens and peer pressure and drugs and driving and telling the truth, even when your friends might not like it. Many topics came up one leading to another while I got questions and questions thrown at me. The boys are at an age that they want to talk still. I wasn't sure that their sister was listening or not while she sang to herself in the backseat.
Then we began to talk about fighting impulses. I told them that every time you fight your impulses and discipline yourself, you become stronger. Every time you give into your impulses and just do whatever, they begin to control you, and you become weaker. We discussed someone we know whose lack of control over impulses is presently affecting my kids in a negative way. I told them that even the small daily choices that they make now to chose against their impulses and discipline their lives will help them not to give into bigger problems later on.
Here, my daughter who had up to that point just been staring out the window happily singing to herself piped up. "Momma, I disciplined myself to stop doing something. Am I stronger now?"
"That's good; it will make you stronger. What did you discipline yourself to stop doing?"
"I used to eat my boogers, and I disciplined myself to stop, and now I don't do that anymore!"
Why did I even ask?!
Now I am the proud mom of a non-booger eating little girl who is working out her self-disciplining muscles!
May God give all of them the strength they need, and bless their choice to do right - yes, even if it is about not eating boogers.