Sobering Thoughts on raising resilient kids – Part 3

Sobering thought:
We build in our child a “time bomb” set to “explode” much later.

Hettie Brittz

Explore this thought by watching this video by Hettie Brittz, or read the article below.


In his course Seven Laws of the Learner Bruce Wilkinson describes education as the process in which teachers plant time bombs in children that are meant to explode much later. Discipline is like that too.

I am teaching my child today to say “no” to the second piece of cake. It’s not because I’m afraid she’d embarrass me at other people’s homes or that she’d harm her health. I do this in the hope that she will learn self-control. For example, she should be able to control her appetite when a second man (far worse than the second piece of cake) is dished up on a tray someday. That’s when the “bomb” has to go off with a loud boom, isn’t it? Yet, this could only happen if she has learned what it means to say no to herself, to acknowledge desires, to turn to the Lord when her strength is not enough to overcome temptation and to overcome with the power of the Holy Spirit.

This implies that we will start at chocolate cake but will have to pass by quite a few other places in order to pack more explosives into the bomb and to connect vital thinking skills like tripwires. We will have to talk about hormones, sexual temptation, and the implications of big decisions. It’s a conversation that will take years.

The important, and sometimes alarming realisation, is that when the big test for our parenting input comes, you and I may not be there to make sure our children succeed. Whether they will heed the warning that the explosion should provide, won’t be up to us in the heat of the moment. However, if we don’t do the hard work now to make sure they don’t eat five pieces of cake in a row, we hardly give them a chance. Let’s give them one of the essential building blocks of self-control they might need later: opportunities to practice saying “no” though their bodies may scream “yes”!

In light of this, discipline means a step-by-step process in which we build skills, knowing that we’re probably not going to be on the scene when our parenting is put to the test.

“Evergreen parents teach young children the
skills for challenges expected much later.”

Hettie Brittz