We'll receive a $25,000 grant if others match it by Pentecost. $19,165 to go. Your gift will be doubled!
Click here to advertise on CatholicCulture.org

Catholic Activity: The Art of Self-Denial


  • None
  • Prep Time

  • N/A
  • Difficulty

  • • •
  • Cost

  • N/A
  • For Ages

  • 21+
  • Activity Types

    Linked Activities

    • None


    • None

    Linked Recipes

    • None

    Linked Prayers

    • None


    • None


    • None

One of the most important things you can do for your child's development is to teach him to practice self-denial willingly.


If your child is to become successful as a human being, he must learn to deny himself immediate pleasures to achieve a future good. We must all deny ourselves to achieve eternal happiness in heaven. So too on a worldly level. The husband and wife who fail to deny themselves at least some material pleasures during their early years of marriage will reach old age penniless and dependent upon others. The student who cannot deny his impulse for pleasure when homework assignments must be done, pays the price ultimately by failing in his studies and finding that he cannot achieve a suitable station in life.

Learning to say no is therefore the most important single lesson that your child must learn. During his lifetime, he must say no to temptations that besiege him on all sides; he must say no to discouragements, defeatism and despair; if he is to reach any stature in the spiritual or even worldly order, he must say no to urges to take things easy, relax, or give up the fight. For this reason, parents who try to do everything for their child ultimately do nothing for him; by preventing him from developing self-discipline and the ability to say no, they prevent him from acquiring the most important attribute of a complete person.

How can you teach your child to practice self-denial? Mainly by setting up rules for his conduct and behavior and adhering to them firmly. When you do this, you make him aware of penalties that he must pay unless he controls impulses of one kind or another. Must he be home for dinner every night at 6 P.M. or lose desserts for a week? He must then say no to playmates who urge him to play another game of ball that will last beyond the designated time. Must he maintain a certain scholastic average or spend extra hours at his books each day until the next marking period? He will then learn that it is easier to deny himself to achieve passing grades now than to make greater sacrifices later.

The concept of self-denial appeals to youngsters. It represents a challenge — an opportunity to prove their mettle as strong-willed boys and girls. When they learn how to win over their lower instincts, they prepare themselves in the best possible way for the greater challenges and battles they will face as adults.

Activity Source: Catholic Family Handbook, The by Rev. George A. Kelly, Random House, Inc., New York, 1959

Matching Campaign
Subscribe for free
Click here to advertise on CatholicCulture.org
Shop Amazon

Recent Catholic Commentary

Climate Change and Vatican II: Insights! May 1
Are Catholic schools Catholic? A strange case in San Francisco. May 1
We've already redefined marriage, by accepting contraception May 1
Henri de Lubac's fascinating notes on Vatican II May 1
The Church of England’s satirical take on climate change May 1

Top Catholic News

Most Important Stories of the Last 30 Days
Pope challenges world leaders' silence on persecution of Christians CWN - April 6
Pope outlines plans for the extraordinary jubilee of mercy CWN - April 13
Vatican completes doctrinal assessment of Leadership Conference of Women Religious CWN - April 16
Pope accepts resignation of Bishop Finn CWN - April 21