Sunday, March 13, 2011

Steady Progress on a Careful Plan

Teaching our children the discipline of good habits can be so discouraging! I would like to tell them what to do, train them in the habit (in maybe a day or two) and then set them on their way not having to think of the lesson again. But alas, as I walk through my home and see lights left on, clothes on the floor, yelling at one another, teeth not brushed correctly, slipshod schoolwork; no, I cannot leave the lesson behind. So instead of getting discouraged, I try to look ahead. It will be a long process of training.

"These [virtues], and such as these, wise parents cultivate as systematically and with as definite results as if they were teaching the 'three R's'." ~ Charlotte Mason

Teaching good habits will take as long as teaching my child how to read. Harrison (9 months) is learning how to say sounds. He's now at 'da-da' and 'beh'. Phoebe (4 yrs) can mostly sing the ABC song correctly and is starting to recognize letters and what sound they make. Jonathan (6 yrs) is learning to put sounds together to read words and sentences. Elizabeth (9 yrs) can read quite well on her own, but needs a little help with unfamiliar words like 'larynx' or 'mauve'. So they are all at different stages of learning this "R".

I can't expect Phoebe to be at the same place Elizabeth is at on her road to reading. Neither should I expect as much in habit training. They will all be at different stages. It will take time to train them in good habits. But I do have all of childhood to work with them, and it is so worth it to have a child who can "bring their will to bear" and make themselves do what they ought to do instead of just what they want to do. Steady progress on a careful plan will produce desired results ~ this encourages me as I disciple my children and train them in good habits.


Holly Clouse said...

I really appreciate this post, Lanaya! Landon asks alot if we can do school together, and so we do, nearly every day. Some days he does so well, remembering letters, writing them down, etc. and other days it seems rather fruitless on the learning end (but such a wonderful time to spend one-on-one time with him while Emmalia naps!)

Some days it is the same in discipline; he remembers and makes such wonderful improvements. Other days, not so!

I'm grateful for your reminder, and the fact that he still has so much to learn ahead of him, as do I!

phillipsgirl said...

Thank you, Holly! Child-rearing is definitely a long-term commitment. I'm a list checker, so it's hard for me not to just want to "get it over with". :-) So many people say it goes by fast. To enjoy this time. So I am trying to learn to relax and enjoy!

See Jamie blog said...

Oh, goodness, I needed this reminder. We don't expect academics to be learned overnight, so why do we expect habits to be learned that way?

Contessa Kris said...

I've been getting discouraged lately with a child who has moved into that puberty stage and fights most everything school related, and doing things halfway instead of correctly. Having to teach good habits over and over is hard and daunting and discouraging but when it finally works and kicks in, it will be fabulous.

Dorla said...

Oh, I so needed to read this! I need to be consistent with my son to complete his chores in the morning - It is so easy to let go and then things never get done!
Thanks Lanaya,

Carletta said...

The comparison to reading is excellent! It takes time, and is a slow process. Thank you for the reminder.

Richele said...

It was really telling to see that "R" in relation to the progress of your four children.

That word 'cultivate' is a good one, Lanaya. We can't go digging up our potatoes because we don't see them growing. It reminds me of Paul's words to the Galatians: "And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up."

All my best,

Nancy said...

Very nice post, Lanaya. Habits are a lifelong process. The children see mommy and daddy as they continue to work on habits - well, at least we do! It's the grace and joy in the journey that keep us, and them, persevering.

Ring true,

Melissa said...

If only it took an instant! Thanks for the encouragement!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the reminder that slow and steady is still accomplishing, just not as fast as we might would like.

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