Do Your Kids Have Habitual Blessings?
“Hey! Turn that back on!” I heard from the hallway one day.
It had happened again.
We have taught our children, from the time they were young, to turn off lights as they leave a room. Someone had turned out the light while there was someone still in that room.
It was a case of what I like to call “good habit—bad timing”.
It takes 21 days to form a good habit.
How amazing that the brain, once trained, knows what to do on its own! Eventually we no longer have to think about what to do and how to do it.
Imagine if you had to reinvent tying your shoe, each time you did it. We can turn off a light without thinking, even without looking at the switch. We can be thinking about the next task in the next room while we finish the task in the current one.
The mind is wonderful!
During an exercise class, I heard a phrase worth remembering:
“That which is used, develops; that which is not used atrophies.”
At that time, I did not know the meaning of the word “atrophy”, so I guessed it meant the opposite of “develop”. Since our family has a motto of knowing, instead of guessing, it bothered me I didn’t know for sure, so I looked it up.
So many habits go into each action…
Think of all the habits working in this experience:
- The phrase, repeated, became a reminder of the good of learning, repetition, and training.
- The habitual use of English caused me to guess correctly at the meaning of a word in context.
- The habit of exercise, itself, gave me a lifelong urge to keep moving, partly spurred on by thoughts of atrophy.
- Our habit of being sure of facts caused me to bother with a dictionary.
- A family habit of returning a thing to its place enabled me to find the dictionary.
- A habit of working alphabetically caused me to turn to the front of that huge book.
Imagine life without habits!
How difficult it would have been for me to benefit from the experience had I not had all those habits! Oh, the drill, supplied by faithful adults, that formed them in me!
The sad thing is that some children who lack faithful training might be learning to hate exercise instead of fearing atrophy. We have many such children living among us, these days—lacking drill in good habits—and this loss causes many problems. They never reap any benefit from life’s normal experiences. They become abnormal.
And we have to make up for their loss all around us.
Our children do not have to be among them, though. The home is the perfect environment for instilling good habits.
Let’s do it!
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)