Selbstkontrolle in der frühen Kindheit ist der wichtigste Erfolgsfaktor für das Erwachsenenleben. Das ist die Botschaft einer neuseeländischen Studie mit 1000 von der Geburt bis ins Erwachsenenleben beobachteten Probanden. Selbstdisziplin zu lernen heisst nicht sofort alle Wünsche befriedigen zu müssen.
“Children who had the greatest self-control in primary school and preschool ages were most likely to have fewer health problems when they reached their 30s,” says Terrie Moffitt, a professor of psychology at Duke University and King’s College London.
Moffitt and a team of researchers studied a group of 1,000 people born in New Zealand in 1972 and 1973, tracking them from birth to age 32. The new study, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, is the best evidence yet on the payoff for learning self-discipline early on.
The researchers define self-control as having skills like conscientiousness, self-discipline and perseverance, as well as being able to consider the consequences of actions in making decisions.
The children who struggled with self-control as preschoolers were three times as likely to have problems as young adults. They were more prone to have a criminal record; more likely to be poor or have financial problems; and they were more likely to be single parents.
In Galater 5 wird die Selbstkontrolle als Resultat des Wirkens von Gottes Geist aufgezählt. Als Christen wissen wir nicht nur um diese Tatsache. Die Bibel liefert uns Geschichten (wie z. B. die von Josef), Weisheitslehre (in den Sprüchen) und konkrete Anweisungen, wie Selbstkontrolle konkret aussieht. Hier geht es zu einem längeren Aufsatz von Ed Welch “Self-Control: The Battle Against ‘One More'”.
Among Evangelicals, self-control is equally suspect. “Let go and let God” is still a motto by which we live. Our sense is that if change feels like self-effort and hard work, then it is probably legalistic and not animated by the Holy Spirit. Self-control, of course, can feel like hard work. But, given the prevalence of drug and alcohol abuse, Internet pornography, bulimia, and a host of other out-of-control experiences, we would be wise to revisit the biblical teaching on self-control.