Hope for your financial life and beyond

The Value of Repetition – As Witnessed Through My Daughter

Hidden Nuggets Series #22 – “And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up.” – Deuteronomy 6:6-7

ID-10057677Repetition is the key to learning.

Repeat things consistently, day in and day out, and patterns will develop that are extremely difficult to break. These patterns could be positive or negative depending on what has been repeated. Either way, they get hard wired into the brain and influence our behavior.

As a parent, I serve as the default pattern developer for my children. They will pick up on what I routinely say and do and begin to express those things in their life (both consciously and subconsciously). Nothing serves to be more encouraging and/or terrifying as seeing your children turn into you.

So if you want your children to develop sound financial habits, model and teach them to your children. If you want them to treat others with respect and kindness, do that yourself. If you want them to develop a deep and rich spiritual life, practice yours and teach the tenants of your faith to them.

I’d rather have my children learning from my words and example than from others in society who may not share my values.

I was reminded of the power of repetition several years ago when our youngest daughter was three. For part of our evening bedtime routine, we were reading stories from a children’s Bible. The stories were only several pages long with short, simple sentences.

We had read through many of the stories when we came across a very special one. For some reason, the imagery and storyline of this particular event captured her imagination. Despite our best efforts to move on to the next set of stories, she insisted this be read to her every night.

So we did – for about a month.

Then one day I was walking past her room and overheard her talking to herself. The words seemed familiar to me so I stopped to listen closer. Immediately I recognized the phrases…she was quoting from memory the Bible story we had been reading to her.

Amazed, I went into her room, grabbed the children’s Bible and asked her to start the story again. There I sat following along (my jaw hanging open) listening to my daughter not miss a word as she recited…the Christmas story. We quickly rushed to find the MacBook to record this special moment.

So enjoy my daughter’s 55-second, pre-tonsil surgery version of the birth of Jesus.

Merry Christmas!

What are you teaching your children on purpose or by accident that they are picking up? What about yourself do you not want your children to imitate?

Image Courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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About Brian

I'm a former private high school personal finance and Bible teacher now turned stay at home dad and blogger. My hobbies include rental real estate, running, cooking and sports. In my down time, I love hanging out with my four kids and hearing my wife talk about all the cool things CPAs do at work.

Comments

  1. Student Debt Survivor says:

    Absolutely adorable! No kids here yet, but I am always amazed at how quickly little ones pick up things (good and bad).

    • It certainly doesn’t take long. Funny thing is we always act surprised when we see it. I’ve caught myself time and again saying, “Where did you see/hear that?” only to realize later it was from me.

  2. Green Money Stream says:

    So sweet. Thanks for sharing. My son is 4 and he is just the most precious thing right now! I do feel the weight of trying to be a good role model for him in everything.

  3. How precious! It really is amazing how much kids pick up on your actions. I guess you learn a lot of self-awareness as a parent! Then again, it also presents you with a great teaching opportunity. I know as a kid, I was interested in all kinds of stuff my parents did that were “grown-up,” like paying the bills and their jobs. I loved “take your daughter to work day.”

  4. So cute. I love how kids say peace on urf. :) They’re like little sponges aren’t they?

  5. Very cute. I am always amazed that our son recalls stuff that I may have said a year or so ago without really thinking. You definitely have to watch what you say around little ones.

  6. Peace on Earff!! :)

  7. Love this, Brian! So cute and I’m glad you were able to record it. Kids really are sponges and pick up so much from repetition and observing us. Sometimes it’s a little unnerving when you think about all the things we teach our kids that we may not intend to do. On the flip side, we also have great power to teach them many wonderful things too. :)

  8. Alexa Mason says:

    That’s so cute. My five year old daughter watched with me and wants to know “how does she know that?” lol I think I have some teaching to do now. Love that you posted this.

  9. Done by Forty says:

    That’s adorable. Thanks for sharing that! I agree that habit formation ends up being the main driver for a lot of our behaviors, for good or bad. Like a lot of people, I’m working on changing some of mine…if you have a secret, share it!

    • Changing habits ultimately happens when we change the patterns of behavior. And that all starts in the mind. In the beginning, when I began running to get in shape, it was very much a mental exercise to get out of bed in the morning. Very difficult. After a couple of months it became easier and I looked forward to being up early. I substituted new behavior patterns (running early) for my old habits (sleeping in/being lazy).

  10. Laurie @thefrugalfarmer says:

    SO cute, Brian!!! This is the very reason we are working so hard to correct our financial mistakes: so that our kids don’t think it’s okay to spend yourself into oblivion by activating every credit card offer that comes their way. Merry Christmas, my friend!

  11. FI Pilgrim says:

    That’s easily the cutest thing I’ve seen all week, and a great reminder for those of us with children. The remember much better than we think they do, often times, and repetition is key!

  12. I don’t have children, but I hope that one day they pick up on my work ethic and I hope they don’t pick up on how I stress out about sometimes menial things :) Maybe I should work on that before I have kids haha. Anyway, Merry Christmas to you and your family!

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