We are living in an unprecedented time that has shaken traditional systems in our societies around the world—from economy to education. With social distancing and quarantines in place, many schools have closed and provided both children and their parents with what can be seen as a new, unique opportunity to build life-habits as a family.

The habits that you develop at an early age become a tremendous advantage for the rest of your life. And it starts in the family. Parents can provide this advantage for their children, instilling values through the habits they encourage their children to follow.

One of these habits is self-discipline. It’s not an easy habit to develop, however, it is an essential one for those who wish to accomplish big dreams. Success is not an overnight process; it is a long road of learning from mistakes and persisting in spite of setbacks. With focus and consistency, anyone can develop this life-altering habit to be successful.

Here is one way parents can help their children develop self-discipline:

Encourage children to participate in athletics outside of their academic ventures. Academics is primarily an individual endeavor. There are also some individual-type sports that teach children the self-discipline it takes to compete. But team sports are valuable for children to learn about leadership and how to work within a team. Becoming an athlete helps young people recognize that we are not all the same. People have different strengths and weaknesses and if you want to improve, you have to invest a lot of energy, effort, and hard work. Comparing athletic strength, talent, and ability is not to foster jealousy, rather, it is an opportunity to teach children a positive culture of wanting to learn from those who have more experience. A community of people like this, that want to learn from and help each other, is a community that can progress together.

Engaging in sports also teaches children how to deal with both victory and defeat. It’s a powerful lesson. There are winners and losers when they compete in sports. Young people need to be challenged. If parents want their children to grow up to be respectful, to be responsible, to not shirk away from challenges or difficulty, they have to learn to be a self-motivated engine that embraces what is in front of them.

It takes humility and intellectual honesty to grow. It takes a big man or woman to acknowledge their deficiencies and to actually want to grow and develop themselves. People tend to gravitate towards these kinds of people—people that want to develop themselves and their value system and add to our humanity.