This opening article describes the best parts of the parent/child relationship. It is written well and contains many good pieces of information and advice. There is an undertone of annoyance, hate, and superiority (perhaps I am only aware of this because of the other publications presented by this organization) however, that tarnishes what is said here that is good.
Here are a few items to ponder from the NGJ article index (italics)
Doing the same thing each day at the same time is structure. Any individual, not just children, left to do as he pleases from one moment to the next will likely do nothing unless it is immediately gratifying. To determine ahead of time what needs to be done and then doing it at the allotted time enables one to do the unpleasant with regularity. A schedule prevents one from procrastination. It relieves boredom, gives a sense of security, and minimizes stress. Good habits of scheduling one’s time are best established early in life, before four years old. Without structure, the child lives as an irresponsible rogue. Structure allows children to set goals and sacrifice to reach them. It is the road to betterment.
One of the most common concerns of parents is sibling squabbles. Children that are on schedules are far less likely to gripe, complain, and fight.
Let’s discuss this in terms of positive and negative result.
Statement: Any individual, not just children, left to do as he pleases from one moment to the next will likely do nothing unless it is immediately gratifying.
From your current perspective, how many people, including yourself, do you know prove this statement to be true?
Is it possible that there are people on this planet that, when left to do just as they please, think of and serve other living things, in a manner that is not immediately gratifying?
Dare I say that there might even be a couple children in the billions that might be the sort that, given a chance to just do as they please, might choose to do something for another living being that does not bring immediate gratification?
Further, let’s discuss the heart of gratification. It certainly can take on a selfish hue, but it can equally wrap itself in a hue of selflessness and servitude.
By definition, gratification is that which affords pleasure; satisfaction; enjoyment; fruition: delight.
From my perspective, gratification in and of itself is not where our concern should be focused, immediate or delayed. Rather, choosing to gain perspective as to the motive and circumstances surrounding it. Gratification, regardless of how rapidly its affects are felt, can be just as positive as it can be negative, and it is non-discriminatory as far as age, gender, race, or intellect.