By Kerry Cordy
Someone with self control exhibits the following characteristics:
- · Completes their assignments
- · Stays on task
- · Shows patience
- · Ignores peer pressure
- · Chooses productive rather than destructive activities
- · Controls their tempers
Penguins: Do 3 requirements including the two starred.
Otters: Do 4 requirements including the two starred.
Dolphins: Do 5 requirements including the two starred.
Butterflies: Do 6 requirements including the two starred.
Eagles: Do 7 requirements including the two starred.
Owls: Do 9 requirements including the two starred.
_____ 1.* Have you ever heard the expression, “Sticks and stones can break my bones, but words will never hurt me.”? The truth is, words can hurt; sometimes even more than physical pain. Learning to control what you say and how you say it is just as important as controlling your actions. Get two jars and label one “Kept Control” and the other “Lost Control“. Place a bowl of marbles (or paper clips, jelly beans, or any other small item) next to the two jars. For the next week, pay attention to what you say. Every time you get angry or irritated and you keep control of your tongue, place a marble in the Kept Control jar. Every time you lose control and say an unkind word, or use a disrespectful tone, place a marble in the Lost Control jar.
At the end of the week, discuss with a parent or guardian your results. How difficult was it to keep control of what you said? Did things “slip” out before you could stop them? Did you hurt anyone by accident when they took something you said the wrong way? What did you learn from this about keeping control of your words?
_____ 2.* Discuss the following questions with a parent or other adult.
How can I demonstrate self control when I am tired or irritated?
What are some positive activities that I can do to replace bad habits?
How does my choice in friends effect my actions?
Who are trustworthy people I can talk to if I need help or advice?
_____ 3. Bullying has become a huge problem in many schools and communities. Bullying can be classified as any ongoing physical or verbal mistreatment. Bullies show no self control. Look for examples of bullying in your books and TV shows. Have you ever bullied one of your siblings? Discuss with a parent or other adult what to do if you are ever bullied by someone else. If you ever see someone being bullied, it is your responsibility to report this behavior to a teacher, counselor, principal, or parent. Many times, the effects of being bullied can stay with a person for the rest of their life. It is your responsibility to do all you can to make sure that it stops.
_____ 4. Write an essay about self control, why it is important, and how you plan to implement it in your life.
_____ 5. Do silly exercises to strengthen your self-control like not scratching, not blinking, or sitting extremely still for a long period of time. How difficult was it? Is it easier if you set a time limit and know that you have a deadline?
_____ 6 Have you ever noticed that many people do things they know are wrong simply because others around them are doing it? Self control is much easier when the friends you choose to associate with are those that will hold you accountable to proper behavior. Think about the friends that you have. Do they challenge you to be the best you can be and love you unconditionally? Or do they encourage you to behave in a way that you know is wrong, but you are afraid of their disapproval? Self control means standing up for yourself and for what you know is right, even it means that your friends might not like it. The next time your friends want you to do or say something that you know you shouldn’t, stand firm and refuse. Think long and hard about the type of friends that they are and decide if they are truly worth having.
_____ 7. Anger can serve as a signal that something is wrong, and the best way to control anger is to find what caused you to feel angry in the first place and resolve it. If you continue to justify your anger, or blame it on others, you will not be able to overcome it. When you are angry, practice taking time to count to ten and take a deep breath before you say or do anything. Do not slam things or throw them, and think before you speak. Remember how insults and mean actions affect you and make sure that you avoid causing others the same pain.
In many cases, the problem that caused your anger may have something to do with your own actions. Be honest with yourself about your role in the problem and find ways to change how you behave in the future. If you are at fault, ask forgiveness of those you have offended. If others are at fault, try to understand where they are coming from and be tolerant of their position.
Every time something makes you angry, take the time to calm down enough to take control of your response before you speak or act.
_____ 8. Many things in life are not inherently bad, but can become so if done to excess. For example, we all need food to survive, but overeating can lead to obesity. Over sleeping, over working, and over spending are all examples of good things gone bad by losing self control.
Brainstorm a list of problems that might result from a lack of self-control: How do they affect personal appearance, physical-mental-emotional health, school success, life success, friendships, job performance, talents, participation in family-clubs-community-faith, marriage, or parenting?
Look at your own life and find a place where too much of a good thing has started to cause problems for you. Maybe you love to snack on cookies and potato chips in the afternoon and it is starting to effect your health; maybe you like to stay up late every night and you are not getting enough sleep, or maybe you love to buy things and you find that you are always broke.
Now make a plan to get your excess under control. If snacking is your problem, make sure there are plenty of healthy snacks in the kitchen prepared and ready to eat. Make a conscience decision to control yourself and not reach for the cookies, but grab some carrot sticks instead. If spending is your problem, have your parents help you set up a savings account. Whenever you receive money, make a commitment to putting ½ of it into savings, leaving you free to spend the other half as you wish without guilt.
_____ 9. Procrastination is something that everyone fights from time to time. Whether it is chores, homework, or some other task that you do not wish to do, putting it off will only provide more stress later on. Having the self control to do unwanted tasks quickly will actually make your life easier and more enjoyable. For the next week, make an effort to complete all necessary tasks as quickly as possible. Take note of how much free time you end up with and how much more relaxing it is without undone chores hanging over your head.
_____ 10. Write or tell a chain story about a make-believe prince or princess who has no self-discipline.
_____ 11. Interview people with careers that require self control such as doctors, scientists, and engineers: How does self control help their work?
_____ 12. What does your book of faith say about self-control? Memorize at least 1 verse about self-control if you are a Penguin, 3 verses if you are an Otter or Dolphin, and 5 if you are a Butterfly or Eagle.
_____ 13. Write the words SELF-CONTROL on a piece of paper and then think of one self-controlled act that you could do that starts with each letter in the word. For example for S you could put “save half my allowance” and for E “eat smaller portions”.
_____ 14. Using the Victorian Language of flowers make a bouquet that symbolizes what self-control means to you. You can find the meanings assigned to the flowers at various websites or in books and you may cut pictures from magazines or web pages to create a collage “bouquet”. Make sure you include the name and meaning of each flower that you choose. You may make a scrapbook page using pictures of flowers or make a bouquet using real or artificial flowers. J
_____ 15. Find and memorize at least 1 (Penguins), 3 (Otters and Dolphins), 5 (Butterflies and Eagles) famous quotations about self-control.
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The language of flowers:
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