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
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.
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?