Patience & Persistence
Good Habits Begin Early
“Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it.” Proverbs 22:6 NIV
Patience and persistence. These are the tools parents need in order to develop good habits in their children. Unfortunately, nagging & short tempers are the tools we use most often.
Developing good habits in children is not an overnight task. It takes time, lots & lots of time! Too often, we end up frustrated & our kids end up in tears. Or even worse, we both end up being stubborn, digging in our heels, determined not to give an inch. What fun!
You might wonder why bother. Some of the bad habits or lack lack of good habits really isn’t a big deal. Just let it slide & over time, kids come around. Not so fast. It seems to be human nature to do what is easy rather than what is right. And when someone, like Mom, comes along behind kids to take care of things, well, there never seems to be any reason to change. After all, things seem to be working so well. And suddenly, one day you realize your kids have managed to train YOU rather than you training them! Sigh!
It is also important to remember that you aren’t just developing good habits in your children for today but also for tomorrow & all the tomorrows that follow. The verse for this study tells us a child does not turn from the teaching of their parents as they get older. Oh, they may take a short detour from time to time. If, however, you have consistently instilled good habits in your children, they eventually return to those ways. It is what feels comfortable to them, what makes them feel at home.
As the school year begins, it is a great time to consider the bad habits or lack of good habits your children may have & determine how you might raise them up in the way they should go. Here are some of the areas you might consider:
Sense of Urgency: Kids have so may things to distract the from the tasks they should be doing. They also have a never ending list of excuses for getting it done later. Time to break the habit of procrastination & focus on helping your kids get things out of the way immediately. Rather than spending Sunday afternoon & evening rushing to complete homework & projects that are due the next day. Get into the habit of having kids work on homework & projects immediately when the get home from school. Give them & you more time if there is a problem. Save everyone the tears & frustration caused by waiting until the last minute.
Becoming & Staying Organized: How many mornings do you spend rushing around the house, searching for a misplaced item that your child must have for school that day? Take time to find an effective way to help kids keep their school supplies & materials organized to prevent those frenzied morning searches.
Good Manners: Oh see you rolling your eyes! I’m sure you think good manners are outdated. That no one cares about that anymore. After all, times change! Yes, they changed a lot between 1800 & 1900 yet good manners still existed & were expected. Times always change yet some things remain timeless. Like good manners. Good manners enable all of us to relax & know we are doing the right thing even if no one else is following suit. I have always believed in setting & maintaining a high standard, not in a judgmental way but in a way that makes me feel comfortable. I won’t lower myself to the standards of others. And yet, I am comfortable in their presence. My goal is not to make anyone else uncomfortable. I don’t expect everyone to behave the same way I do.
Good manners are not hard rules concerning which fork to use with each food served. Good manners are about treating other people decently. We are all made in the image of God. Good manners is showing respect to each image. Being rude to others is not just showing them disrespect, it is also a matter of showing disrespect to God. Jesus told us to treat our neighbors as we would treat ourselves. This means being courteous to others.
Take time to teach your children courtesy & good manners. And remember, the best way to do this is by modeling good behavior yourself.