You want your kids to be good, right? In fact, you expect them to be good. You expect them to know, for instance, that hitting a brother or sister or turning their own room up-side down out of anger is simply, well, wrong. This seems so obvious, doesn’t it? That picking up little sis because she annoys you and throwing her into the next room simply isn’t done?
But the trouble is not that our children are flawed (though they are, we’ll come to that), but that our expectations are flawed. In fact, they are bordering on the ridiculous. Have you ever yelled, slammed the door, kicked, stomped, cursed, or thrown anything just because you were so mad you couldn’t seem to help yourself? I have and probably within the last week…if I can’t control my own reactions after almost 40 years of practice, how can I expect the kiddos to do it with no practice at all?
Human beings are fallen creatures, we need training to help us to be good. Just as we can fall into vice through bad habits, we can learn to practice virtue by forming good habits. If you have to think about whether or not it’s ok to hit someone in the heat of passion, you’ve lost---the anger will beat your cognitive mind every time. Wielding that kind of control over your actions 24-hours a day would simply be exhausting. Especially for children. But once good habits are formed, acting virtuously could almost become a subconscious act, or at least your conscious mind could be saved for harder moral questions.
Our kiddos are not perfect angels. They need to be trained in virtuous habits. I don’t know about you, but my own training is somewhat lacking, so this topic is doubly important to me. I’ll be exploring this topic over the next couple of weeks (what better time than while we await the coming of our Savior?) and sharing what we are doing to encourage our children to be more Christ-like. Since we homeschool, this task is both easier and harder than it might be if they were in school all day. Why is that? I’ll share some of the reasons with you soon.
What do you do to help your children form virtuous habits?