Home motherhood/family/parenting Mom Life Hack: Teaching Diligence

Mom Life Hack: Teaching Diligence

by Kelly Crawford

“The plans of the diligent lead surely to advantage, But everyone who is hasty comes surely to poverty.” Proverbs 21:5

Moms freak out. I know, I am one. Some days it feels like there are 5,350 important things to do, all at one time. And homeschooling moms can feel like they have the weight of the world on their shoulders just carrying around the burden of educating their children, besides all the other stuff to do in life.

Sometimes I have to regroup and remind myself of the really important things in life. And there are quite a few. But when it comes to preparing my children for the future, I can simplify my efforts by going back to a few basic things, one of which is teaching diligence.

“Seest thou a man diligent in his business? he shall stand before kings; he shall not stand before obscure men.” Proverbs 22:29

In a word, Scripture says that a diligent man will be successful.

Diligence is concentration, thoroughness and persistence. And in a culture where instant, fast and easy prevails, diligence is hard to find, and harder to attain.

But we can be deliberate about diligence in our homes and put our children far ahead.

Encouraging them when they face a difficult task, requring them to redo a careless job and praising them for their perseverance are ways we can help them grow in diligence.

Also, begining early is important. Not only can we expect our young children to be diligent in an age-appropriate task, but they thrive on the realization that they are a meanginful part of the family.

My 3 year old wanted to help me with supper last night and cut up tomatoes. I first told him he would have to wait until he’s older because he’s too young to use the knife. But I remembered a dull point knife with just enough serrated edge to cut a tomato that would be safe for him and told him he could try. He sawed away, announcing to all his big brothers and sisters that he was helping make dinner. A small thing for sure, but I praised him for seeing the job through to the end and for his willingness to help and serve.

Limiting their entertainment has important consequences. First, it forces them to do things with their hands–an opportunity to perservere and to find reward in work and productivity. Also, it helps them develop a stronger and longer attention span. They will read more, imagine more, think more, create more and relate more when their access to entertainment is limited.

Teaching diligence doesn’t just set our children up for success though; it is one of the most helpful things you can do for yourself. If you take the time (and it does take time) to teach your children to be thorough and persistent, it will pay off for you down the road.

Little by little, daily reminders and encouragment and purposeful parenting will grow into big rewards for them and you.


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Hayley Ferguson September 12, 2014 - 6:40 pm

Thank you for the reminder Kelly. I need this. An encouragement to work harder for my family. God is talking to me about this recently; I could be doing more. I had a melt down yesterday but God is good and He had lifted me up. I WILL try harder and with His power I will succeed for my children; so they will be encouraged to succeed not just survive. Thank you for your blog it’s such a tremendous blessing. Praise God for you dear sister. Hayley xo

Kristen September 12, 2014 - 10:35 pm

My three-year old loves to cut up veggies, too. She uses a butter knife. Diligence is a tough thing to teach, though!

Kelly L September 13, 2014 - 12:03 pm

I love this, it is so important.

One thing I did with my daughter to teach it:
She’s very smart and gets bored with repetitive, busy work. She was rushing through her schoolwork just to be done and missing many due to a lack of diligence. I decided I would mark 2/3 of the problems for her to do. I told her if she got those correct, she did not have to do the last 1/3, but if she even missed one because she wasn’t being diligent, she have to do the rest. Problem solved. It instilled in her a deep love of diligence that exceeded what I even thought would happen; I guess because she saw the benefit in a way that meant a lot to her? It’s funny, because I pretty much got lucky that it worked so well. Now, at 14, she just needs little reminders occasionally to keep diligent.

A phrase we use in our house often, which directly links to diligence, is “Work smarter, not harder.” Too often, people spend 3 times as long working on a project because of their lack of planning and their lack of diligence during the project.

Kelly Crawford September 13, 2014 - 11:18 pm

Kelly–great idea on the math problems. We’ve done that too and it works really well.

Laura(yet another) September 13, 2014 - 7:43 pm

This is a topic I often scratch my head over… I often try to take a hard look at myself and ask if I am being diligent… even while I know that in the household there is plenty of mess and a dirty bathroom lurking around… trouble is there is always more work to do and if we wanted to be “diligent” with the mindset that we work til the work is completely done, I’d be working 24/7… Is it possible to teach diligence yet still somehow show that leaving those dishes on the counter because I finished canning applesauce at 1am is not a lack of diligence but simply necessity of exhaustion?? We do daily chores. Our expectations are reasonable but not exacting. We make em do it again if it’s pretty much a slack-job. But there are still dust bunnies under the couch and almost always dishes waiting in some form or another…

Kelly Crawford September 13, 2014 - 11:17 pm


No, I don’t think diligence means having everything perfect and completed. With a house full of people, especially, there is always something more to do. Decide what you’re going to do, see it through, and then let go of the guilt with the rest. For us, we “maintain” throughout the week and then do a good cleaning on Fridays (bathrooms, etc.) So everyone pitches in to keep things picked up, we share kitchen duty and we do 2 or 3 pick-ups throughout the day, and we try to be diligent with those things, but that doesn’t mean everything is always done. You have to bring your expectations down to a reasonable place, depending on your season of life. I hope that makes some sense.

Mrs L September 14, 2014 - 5:26 am

Hmm…seems that teaching diligence requires….diligence! I lose my focus in the minutiae of feeding people, washing, teaching etc.
I thank God that His mercies are new each day!

Carolina September 14, 2014 - 6:28 pm

“requring them to redo a careless job..” How many times do I have to do that? One of my children would get a blue ribbon in “do it quickly so you are done”.
I have read the book of Proverbs to my children, insisting in the lazyness vs. diligence thing.
thanks for the reminder!. good post!

mandy smith September 15, 2014 - 3:27 pm

Hi, great post! How do you handle limiting entertainment. We have 6 boys who all LOVE any type of device! In this modern world, what are some practical ways that you keep them relying on electronics? Do you allow your older children to have phones, iPods, etc.? We have considered getting rid of them completely for a few months and then gradually allowing them again if the child is responsible enough to stay within the guidelines we set.

6 arrows September 15, 2014 - 5:29 pm


I just learned today of a new book, by Gary Chapman (author of The Five Love Languages) and Arlene Pellicane, that might give you some insights into how to limit your children’s use of technology. The book is entitled Growing Up Social: Raising Relational Kids in a Screen-Driven World. I haven’t picked up the book yet, but from scanning the table of contents of the book (at Amazon), it looks like a good one — not only talking about screen time, its effects, and some guidelines for use, but also discussing alternatives to reliance on tech.

Kelly Crawford September 15, 2014 - 9:10 pm

We don’t have devices except 2 home computers and the oldest have mp3 players they are allowed limited use with (my oldest daughter has a phone without wifi because she’s mobile). It’s just easier to not start it because I know the inevitable. It’s tricky enough limiting music time and then they love watching videos on the computer. Frankly, I don’t know when they’d fit anything else in. I’m sort of a fan for “cold turkey” and we’re talking about going on a strict internet fast here just to remind us all of how much time we spend and how much technology has interfered with our creativity/productivity. It’s a challenge at best, but so very important. I started a post on it a while back and should probably finish it 😉

6 arrows September 16, 2014 - 9:38 am

I will enjoy reading that post 😉 but if you embark on your internet fast first, that’s OK — go for it! Those fasts can have some challenging moments, but the overall experience is SO refreshingly exhilarating! 😀

Hayley Ferguson September 16, 2014 - 8:18 am

Kelly we’re about to do the same; I hope ;-D No internet connection apart from my phone. The children are way to addicted. We have friends who just went electricity free too. I’m not sure if I could do that; maybe. Just trying to hear the Lord’s leading ATM. Praying for you and your family. Hayley xx


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