Monday, October 14, 2013

Forming Great Habits

Some of you stopping by may be wondering what Addie & Ella have been up to!  Why so quiet on the blog?  Well, really there are no good excuses.  With a working computer, keyboard, internet, electricity and good health, there are no glowing reasons.  The blog has simply been sitting in the backseat.  You find yourself getting into that habit of, "I will get to that tomorrow".  So you adjust your rearview mirror until the task is out of sight and tell yourself you will remember to look back there tomorrow.  But tomorrow keeps happening, over and over.  This is especially true of tasks that can take the backseat, the unfinished tasks that don't show up on our daily report cards (unlike dishes, paying bills, working, being a mother).  It takes a daily effort of getting rid of excuses to complete those "backseat" tasks, to pull them into the front seat with you.

It doesn't take 21 days to form a good habit.  It takes discipline EVERYDAY to form great habits.   During Addie's first piano lesson, her teacher interviewed her.  Ms. Molly asked Addie, "Are you going to practice everyday for at least thirty minutes?  What will you say to friends who want to play but you have not yet practiced?  What is your level of commitment?"  Addie accepted the challenge without considering it a challenge.  It was something she wanted to do (in that moment).  But will the challenge (or lack of) be accepted with such ease once a few weeks rolls by?  As her mother, I will be standing by to remind her of what she committed to.  But what we so often ask of our children, we don't do ourselves.  If Addie knew I had not blogged (or insert another forgotten task) for this length of time, what kind of example would I be setting?  As parents leading by example, we need to show dedication and discipline, despite all the derailments that take us off course.

During talks with myself (yes I really do this) and talks with my children about why it is important to stay on task, I first ask them to recognize what they need to do.  I then ask them to think about how they feel afterwards, when the task is complete (for the time being).  Lastly, I ask them to think about their future selves and how thankful they will be when they can look back and see their hard, purposeful, productive work behind them.  One of our household mottos is, "The harder you work now, the easier it will be later".  Learning piano right now might seem difficult, boring at times, and tedious, but in five years when you can sit down at a piano bench and play, how rewarding will that feel!  And I always say, "If someone else can do it, then why can't I"?  The common denominator that usually separates the good from the great, is hard work and a willingness to form great habits despite the chaos that's going on around us.

I hope to be blogging while listening to "Mary had a Little Lamb" for the fiftieth time each and every day.  And one last note, I will tell myself and Addie to not allow the desire for perfection to get in the way of practice.  Practice does not always make perfect, but it does form great habits.


Addie's mom, co-owner and designer, Mai-Lis

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