"Kind words can be short and easy to speak, but their echoes are truly endless."
Building habits into our life has been an ongoing....well, habit since I first read about Charlotte Mason's ideas about this a few years ago in the Home Education Series. I was intrigued by the power of habits. Charlotte shared that she also had an epiphany regarding habits when she was a young teacher and upon hearing a Preacher speak about it. He said Habits are 10 times stronger than nature.(your given disposition). Charlotte said a light bulb turned on for she had been teaching children for a while and had noticed that the lazy student may learn more facts but still remained lazy. The tardy student may learn more facts but still remained tardy. These facts learned were not addressing the overall success of the student for the bad habits of laziness or tardiness etc kept the student from really reaching his or her potetial. Once Charlotte began to set into place new habits of a good student she saw amazing results. She saw that building habits of attention, obedience, truthfulness and many more brought about the success in the children she had dreamed could be possible. I was thrilled to learn this!
Digging through her home education series is a wonderful experience. There is a great new set of ideas regarding education, encouragement in the doing of it, and helpful advice to teachers tucked in there. However, I was feeling a bit daunted by the sheer organizational task of collecting all she had said and getting it into a form I could use daily when I had three little ones to mind at home. Then, Phew! Someone has come to the rescue.. Sonya Shafer the author of the website Simply Charlotte Mason, found the time to create a manual that extracted all of Charlotte's thoughts on the subject of habits and organized it in a beautifully done book called Laying Down the Rails. She has added inspiring quotes from others, provided great probing questions to use to check yourself to see if you are on the road to building a good habit, and it is orgainzed in such a way there is ample room in the side margins for personal notes. I have been keeping by my bed and I read portions at a time refreshing my mind of the truth there in and being inpsired to keep on going. On my side bar there is a FREE short version of the same thing called Smooth and Easy Days.
For the last year I have address the habits of orderilness, obedience, attention, perfect execution and currently I an looking at the habit of Kindness. Below are some practical ways to build a habit of kindness in your children and yourself! They are from Laying Down the Rails pg 25-27
Cultivating a habit of Kindness
1. Encourage your child to think the best of other people. (Vol 4, book 1 pp101,102)
2. Teach your child not to asume that others will laugh at him for being kind.(Vol 4, book1 p 102)
3. Encourage your child to defend another's chararcter, even in that person's absence.(Vol 5 , p 208)
4. Help siblings respond kindly to each other, even when faced with a brother's bad temper or persaonal injury. (Vol 5, p 208)
5. Motivate your child with the idea that he might hold the happiness of others in his hands.(Vol 5, p 208)
6. Be careful what messages your child recieves from outside influences that would encourage selfishness. (Vol 5, p 208)
"His habits of kind and friendly behavior will by degrees, develope into principles of action; until at last his character is established and he comes to be known as a just and virtuous man." -Charlotte Mason