The Blessings of Habit— Constant Repeating

Practice makes perfect; you know it’s true.

We should train our children in every habit of good, such as obedience, quietness, tidiness, and so on. We want to produces good adults. However, how on earth do we instill habits into children?

The three-stage process begins with repetition.

I can type a list of all the countries in Southeast Asia, from memory:

  • Malaysia, Laos, Burma, Kampuchea, Brunei, Vietnam, Indonesia, Singapore, Thailand, Philippines.

I can type a list of all the English auxiliary verbs from memory:

  • is, am, are, was, were, be, being, been, shall, will, should, would, may, might, must, can, could, do, does, did, have, has, had.

Formulas for geometry, rules of the road, conjugations of foreign verbs, Bible verses, State capitals, all still reside in my attic, ready for me to climb up there and retrieve them. I learned them through repeating. They may fade as I age, but that will not mean that the repetition I used to learn them was wasted.

asdfjkl; Habit!

sad dad fad fads sass dad lass lass sass…

Repetition has saved me trips to the reference section of the library. It saves me mistakes, it helps me be a better teacher and helpful person, and it is fun. It is especially fun if after 40 years, I hop on a bike or sit at a keyboard, and every skill is still in place. It makes me very glad for asdf jkl; asdf jkl; asdf jkl;

Repetition is a great learning tool, one that we can teach our children to enjoy, if we do not mind making a little effort at helping with it. You know: songs, games, flashcards, etc. Our children’s future successes are worth more than a little effort, on our part, and on theirs.

Repeatedly asking the same question is one effort that works. Every time we went shopping, I would ask my children what was the rule. They knew. “If anyone but Mom touches merchandise, we all have to go back to the car.” I made it stick. They knew that, too. That repetition saved many a gift store.

This policy of repeating was a big part of our learning method throughout life.

  • What is seven times eight?
  • When do we feed the animals, and why?
  • How do we know a tornado may be coming?
  • What’s the first thing to remember in case of fire?
  • What are friends for?
  • Who loves you?
  • Why do you exist?
  • How do we spot a manipulator?
  • What should you do if someone tells you not to tell Mom or Dad?
  • What does it actually mean to acknowledge Jesus Christ?
  • What should you look for in a possible future spouse?
  • Who should you trust if Mom and Dad are not around and you don’t feel safe?

Your children can learn any important thing through repetition. Even in their adulthood, one of our children came straight to us when someone said, “Don’t let your parents know I told you this,” and in a dire situation, when no family was around, one of ours immediately knew whom to trust.

They knew what to do so they wouldn’t get burnt.

We must help our children know these things.

More tomorrow.