Thursday, June 30, 2011

Habit Formation

Do you have any dawdlers in your house? I know I do. I've recently been reading about habit formation in some of my books about the Charlotte Mason method of education. I didn't have any particular reason to read those chapters, it was just the chapters I had gotten too. It is one of the aspects of a Charlotte Mason Education that I've read the least on, in fact. So I was reading it and seeing lots of benefits to good training in habit formation. I had no idea that today, I would see the fruit of not spending time in training habit formation.

About an hour ago I went to put the baby down for a nap and gave Mr. C the instructions to take out the trash. Which must sound just like, "play lego games on the computer," because when I came out of the baby's room, there he was happily playing lego games on the computer and there was the trash. It was sitting the trashcan right where it was when I left the room. Just a few minutes ago, I told a certain teen to unload and reload the dishwasher. Apparently that sounds a lot like "Wash your hair and paint your toenails," because when I found her she was about to shampoo her hair and showed me her freshly painted toenails. Just to be fair, I did make a phone call and ask another adult if in fact take out the trash and unload the dishwasher sound anything at ALL like, shampoo hair and play games. It was agreed, that there must not have been a communication problem, but rather a "habit formation" problem.

So the children will be working on "habit formation." A quick google finds that other moms are utilizing Charlotte's approach to habit formation. Check out this article for a quick overview of the method. This quote from the article hooked me in right away! This woman must LIVE at MY house! Or maybe, it's just a universal issue with all kids???? Either way, I'm agreeing with Charlotte. I have NOT trained them in the habits I wish they would perform. And for their sake and mine, I will be training them.

Do you find yourself always telling or asking your children the same things over and over again? I know I do. If I had a nickel for every time I told them to put the milk away, I’d be rich. Charlotte Mason taught us that when you find yourself always telling them to do the same thing, you have not trained them in the habits you wish they would perform. She wrote, “the habits of the child produce the character of the man . . . every day, every hour, the parents are either passively or actively forming those habits in their children upon which, more than upon anything else, future character and conduct depend.”

I also have a secret weapon in this training. I have the "Grandma Jane" method of child training. It involves weeding. And fortunately for me, I am weed rich! So in addition to what I've been reading, I think I will add on extra weeding just for some good character building. And if that doesn't work, I can fall back on my own parent's secret weapon...rock picking up. One summer, I spent a large amount of time picking up rocks. (My parents were rock rich instead of weed rich. ) Oh how my mom and dad will laugh when they read this. Because I think more than once I said something along the lines of, "I'll never, never, never make my kids pick up rocks!" and thus the cycle of life continues, one parent following in the footsteps that the said parent SWORE they would never follow. How fun life is. Do you think sometime when I'm old and gray, I'll be giggling as Mr. C, Miss A, Miss J and Baby C are all having their own children weed and pick up rocks? Somehow I think that is exactly what my future holds.


Mrs. P