Brush your teeth. Pick up your toys. Clean your plate. Wash your hands. Wear a hat. Feed the dog. Wipe your feet.
Haven’t we all said all those things, and many others, a hundred times, at least?
We should train our children in every habit of good, such as obedience, kindness, and cleanliness.
This produces good adults. We could use a few more good adults.
How do we instill habits into children? The three-stage process is not so hard and begins with repetition.
I can type, from memory, a list of all the countries in Southeast Asia:
I can type, from memory, a list of all the English auxiliary verbs:
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.
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. As they aged, the question changed: “Did you bring money? No? Then you are not shopping; you are just handling things that belong to the store manager, and not to you.” I thought they’d never learn, but they did.
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 your mom or dad? What does it actually mean to acknowledge Jesus Christ? What should you look for in a possible future spouse? What should you do if you’re in trouble? Your children can learn any important thing through repetition.
Then they won’t get burnt.
Photo credit: Sarah G…