During the learning phase of acquiring new habits, reminding can be a good help for your children, or even yourself. Reminding goes beyond repetition. We reserve reminding for when we should already know a fact or skill.
Jesus did this from the cross when He called out the first line of Psalm 22, which minutely foretells the Crucifixion. Every Pharisee at the foot of the cross knew He was reminding them of the entire Psalm and its dire implications for them.
The child, who stops interrupting when Mom slightly raises her hand, is using a reminder. The stopped driver, who hears a slight horn tap and then proceeds at a green light, is using a reminder. The newcomer, who consults a photo-directory to recall a new acquaintance’s name, is using a reminder.
The word, itself, “remind,” means “pay attention, again.” We can cause our children to pay attention more often by the simple service of reminding them. Paying more attention can make the difference between knowing and doing.
During difficult memorized recitations, I have reminded my children with signed alphabet initials of tricky words or phrases. A childhood playmate received reminders from her mother in the form of having to return to the door, and open and shut it quietly, 20 times, to overcome door slamming. “Go back and walk,” is a common reminder at our house: Walk, the first time. Occasionally, even a policeman will give a warning instead of a ticket, if he judges that a reminder is enough.
Bible verses posted on the walls of our homes reminded our children of heart attitudes. Educational and health charts did the same for their earthly needs.
Reminders should be gentle because we realize anyone can forget something. Reminders can be exciting to our children, rather than dreaded, if we are willing to take the trouble to make them exciting. Our children are worth that trouble.
Silly faces on a small poster, can give as much reminder as a cross voice, but with more effect. A bright yellow sticky note hangs on a sharp corner of our cabinets with a drawing of an orange duck on it, to remind passers-by to “duck,” and not hit their heads on that corner. Computers remind us of our fallibility with the “Are you sure” page. The tiny poem, “Thank God for Dirty Dishes,” framed and visible near the kitchen sink, reminded a small, reluctant heart to take comfort at our house for many years.
And I must remind you to remind your children of your love for them with plenty of hugs, kisses, and favors.