"The mother who takes pains to endow her children with good habits secures for herself smooth and easy days; while she who lets their habits take care of themselves has a weary life of endless friction with her children. All day she is crying out, 'Do this!' and they do it not; 'Do that!' and they do the other."
~ Charlotte Mason
After a lazy summer of long days and little structure, I think we all feel some sigh of relief when the fall approaches with promises of cooler days, stronger routines, and new/revisited goals and plans. We have taken a gentle approach to finding our home rhythm again. I find it harsh to have the carefree days of summer come to screeching halt and have children begin a full-blown schedule and workload seemingly overnight. Doing too much too fast results in grumpy, tired family members, and instead of a sense of joy for new beginnings, there can be seeds of loss and resentment.
I have been adding something new to our routine every week to get us all back into the swing of chores, learning, and growing side by side. We have talked about building new "habits" this year...for now, we are working on attention and truthfulness. Re-reading many of Charlotte Mason ideas on habit training have been so inspiring to me ...I never took the habit training part of her writings as seriously as I am now (the pressure of five children will do that to you!)
"Educate the child in right habits and the man's life will run in them without the constant wear and tear of the moral effort of decision. Once, twice, three times in a day, he will still, no doubt have to choose between the highest and the less high, the best and the less good course. But all the minor moralities of life may be made habitual to him. He has been brought up to be courteous, prompt, punctual, neat, considerate; and he practices these virtues without conscious effort."
"Habit may be begun in a moment, formed in a month, confirmed in three months, become the character, the very man, in a year."
"We have lost sight of the fact that habit is to life what rails are to transport cars. It follows that lines of habit must be laid down towards given ends and after careful survey, or the joltings and delays of life become insupportable. More, habit is inevitable. If we fail to ease life by laying down habits of right thinking and right acting, habits of wrong thinking and wrong acting fix themselves of their own accord."
I know that in my own life that following Flylady for a long season really built solid work habits in my life. I had no structure, no routine and plenty of bad habits when Mike and I first started our journey together. Over time and with a willing heart, I was able to solidify habits in my home life that are "auto-pilot" now...my house stays relatively picked up, laundry keeps moving, dishes are done. I have built daily systems in these basic areas which frees me to focus my mental and emotional energies on things that I love like cooking and sewing and decorating and thinking up new ideas.
It would be such a privilege to see my children grow in habits that would serve them and others...that would become instinctual and overflowing...so that they can be free to do all the other things that God has for them and not get bogged down in figuring out the basics.
Now I must build the habit of helping them build habits! It always starts with the mom! How can we expect good choices out of our children if we ourselves aren't taking the time and energy to teach them? For me this is a great challenge...I really *feel* my need for God's grace to help me in this, which is always the best place to be!