Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Anatomy of a Habit

1. Doing a certain action twenty to forty times in succession forms a habit "as easy to follow as not"--

2. If you persist "further in the habit without lapses, it will become second nature, quite difficult to shake off"--

3. Continue the habit "through a course of years, and the habit has the force of ten natures-- you cannot break it without doing real violence to yourself."

(Taken from CM Series Vol. 1 p. 110)

That last step reminds me of a caller I heard on Dave Ramsey's talk show once. This man and his wife had lived a life of financial wisdom, worked steadily, saved and denied themselves luxuries, bought a home, put kids through college, saved for retirement-- all without incurring debt. So why was he calling Dave? Because he had a much higher income now that he was retired (all that saving paid off) and he just couldn't change from being frugal to splurging once in awhile! Years of habit are very hard to break.

What habits do you hope will be difficult-to-impossible for you or your kids to break thirty or forty years from now?


Malgomaj said...

Thanks for the reminder (the question)! I enjoy reading your blog.


The Glasers said...

One of my favorite quotes concerning habits is: "'Sow an act,' we are told, 'reap a habit.' 'Sow a habit, reap a character.' But we must go a step further back, we must sow the idea or notion which makes the act worth while."

I think the difference between pure behaviorism and Charlotte Mason is that behaviorism focuses on pure behavior while Charlotte focuses on thinking. When we guide the thinking of our children, they will form the habits more easily. Even so, as you point out, we must be persistent in nursing the development of sound habits. To be honest, following through persistently is my weakness! :-)

Mother Auma said...

Ooh, Tammy!

Now I'm going to have to go back to Vol. 1 and reread before and after that quote to make doubly sure CM wasn't doing that gracious CM-thing of completely laying out the opposing argument before gently disagreeing with it or adding stipulations!

I agree that we have to focus on nourishing them with ideas. A lot of times, though, it takes forever for kids to connect the ideas to forming good habits, and in the interim we have to do something.

Btw, I cannot believe follow-through is a weakness of yours. You have helped Pamela in so many ways, and that take persistence!

JacciM said...

Thanks so much for such a great submission to the CM Blog Carnival :) I'm sorry it's taken me so long to get through all of the entries! :) I really enjoyed this post, though, as well as your ending question.

What habit to I really want my children to have a hard time shaking without injuring themselves? ;) I'm trying to help my children wake up with a thankful prayer first thing in the morning. We have a little habit we've been trying to build of turning down the covers to air the bed (a CM suggestion that's still backed by hygiene facts). I tell the children to try to remember to pray "Thank you for today, Lord!" as they toss those covers back, and to ask Him for the strength to obey Him and the grace to love Him.

Thanks for the edifying thoughts tonight :)

I wanted to invite you to my virtual Open House to officially kick off my blog's new home. I'd love to have you stop by! :) Just click on the link below.