Principal’s Perspective: Creating Habits
Someone recently told me, “Show me a kid’s habits and I will show you his future.” Older parents often regret that they did not spend enough time training their children to develop good habits. Years later, they see pain and frustration could have been avoided if their children had only developed better habits. Effective habits may be more important to a person’s personal and professional success than intelligence.
Psychologist William Beausay, believes that habits will develop if there is a purpose, good reinforcement and good repetition.
Habits generate a reward that the individual enjoys. All bad habits had an immediate positive effect that allowed them to grow. Likewise, good habits may develop if nurtured. Knowing this, parents need to structure opportunities for their children to enjoy the good feeling that comes from effective behaviors, and the unpleasant consequences that come from irresponsible behaviors.
There are other variables that play an important role in the development of a habit: the age of a child, their natural temperament, and the consistency of the role models around them. The younger you can train your child to enjoy chores, practice social manners, and organization skills the easier they will be to enforce. Beausay says, “Once children cross that thin line of self-consciousness, other factors enter into the mixture inhibiting the development of effective habits.” Also, if all the adults in the child’s life model and encourage the same values and habits, it dramatically improves the chances of his/her adopting healthy habits.
Dr. Mel Levine warns that young people pampered over the last thirty years are entering the work force expecting applause, affirmation without effort and lacking initiative. Employers are complaining that young employees are ill prepared to compete against hungry, motivated and disciplined people who learned to accept discipline.
Here are six behaviors that can shape a life for success:
- Teach manners – Practice with your child how to greet people, introductions, telephone manners, table manners, courtesy, and helpfulness.
- Chivalry – Standing up for the truth or a person in need.
- Interaction with the opposite sex – Teaching your child to honor his mother and father. How to be respectful towards others.
- Personal Responsibility– Daily chores, self-studying, being organized.
- Personal Care – Hygiene, grooming, good posture, and proper clothing.
- Biblical Understanding of Time, Money, Work, Ownership, and Decisiveness.
Consider how your children’s future can be enhanced by the development of good habits, and you will touch their lives for eternity.