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

Brian is a private school teacher, personal finance blogger, side-hustling real estate investor and 2-time marathon finisher. In his down time, he loves being a dad to his 4 kids and husband to his just licensed CPA wife.

  • Student Debt Survivor

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

    • http://luke1428.com/ Brian @ Luke1428

      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.

  • Green Money Stream

    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.

    • http://luke1428.com/ Brian @ Luke1428

      Parenting is the greatest opportunity we have to impact future generations. I want my legacy to live on through my children.

  • E.M.

    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.”

    • http://luke1428.com/ Brian @ Luke1428

      Kids soak in all we do whether we realize it or not. I remember trying to sneak around and listen to my parents conversations. Sometimes I heard more than I wanted to. :)

  • http://budgetandthebeach.com/ Tonya

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

    • http://luke1428.com/ Brian @ Luke1428

      Haha…it is funny. Her pronunciation has improved a bit in the past 4 years, but I miss parts of those early days.

  • http://www.saveandconquer.com/ Bryce@saveandconquer.com

    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.

    • http://luke1428.com/ Brian @ Luke1428

      And watch out because anything you say can and will be brought up again in public by your kids when you least expect it. Been embarrassed a couple of times on that one.

  • HDZ

    Peace on Earff!! :)

    • http://luke1428.com/ Brian @ Luke1428

      My favorite part is the giggle at the end…it’s so like her.

  • http://theheavypurse.com/ Shannon Ryan

    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. :)

    • http://luke1428.com/ Brian @ Luke1428

      I know…I catch myself thinking “Where did they learn that?” Then I realize it most likely was from me. I’m especially seeing it now with my oldest son who is 10.

  • Alexa Mason

    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.

    • http://luke1428.com/ Brian @ Luke1428

      Repetition…plain and simple. We really did read that story for a month+, sometimes several times a night.

  • Done by Forty

    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!

    • http://luke1428.com/ Brian @ Luke1428

      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).

  • Laurie @thefrugalfarmer

    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!

    • http://luke1428.com/ Brian @ Luke1428

      They will follow our lead for sure. What you are doing will have impact for generations to come.

  • FI Pilgrim

    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!

    • http://luke1428.com/ Brian @ Luke1428

      I know…the older I get the more my memory goes. I can’t remember things like I used to do in high school.

  • http://www.youngadultmoney.com/ DC @ Young Adult Money

    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!

    • http://luke1428.com/ Brian @ Luke1428

      “…stress out about sometimes menial things.” That is something I’ve really been trying to work on myself. Believe me, once kids come along, there will be 1,000+ other menial things you could potentially stress about. :)

      • http://www.youngadultmoney.com/ DC @ Young Adult Money

        @Brian_Fourman:disqus I can’t even imagine!