A symposium at Massey University in New Zealand has come up with a profound thought: self-control is a key to a happier life.  Academics have helped themselves to an ancient notion that teaching self-control to children leads to happier outcomes as adults.  Did the world need science to reach this conclusion?
Self-control is an important virtue in many religions and philosophies, such as Judaism and Stoicism.  But at the symposium, “Head of School Associate Professor Cindy Kiro, a former Children’s Commissioner, says the symposium would bring together some of the most prominent scientists, health researchers, community providers and policy makers in New Zealand to make sure that “science informs policy” on such matters.
The press release from Massey University said nothing about parents, churches, synagogues or other non-scientific entities having any role in teaching self-control to children.  Rather, “If we can do the right things to promote self-control among children when they are young, we will significantly improve their chances of economic wellbeing, good health and lower participation in crime when they are adults,” according to a professor involved.  The press release was echoed on PhysOrg.

We need science telling us about obvious things like “self control is valuable” like we need government telling us to be kind to one another.  Teaching self-control belongs at home, but only by parents guided by the Creator’s instruction manual.  Scientists and educators cannot direct knowledge and virtue to good ends.  Just as a well-taught mathematician can be a better swindler, a self-controlled sinner could become a radical terrorist, or a follower of a false religion willing to endure useless acts of self-torture.
Self-control must be directed to good ends, but who decides the good ends?  It takes self-control to become a champion athlete or skilled musician.  These are best as individual decisions.  Beware the government or scientocracy (see ID the Future) that decides the ends and trains its citizens, like Hitler Youth, to accomplish its political desires….

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