Friday, December 02, 2005

Habit Forming

Think about the actions you take to wake up each morning:


  1. Take the covers off your body with one of your hands.
  2. Get out of bed, landing on both feet.
  3. Put on your robe (or sweatshirt/sweatpants).
  4. Walk down the hall to the bathroom and close the door behind you.
  5. Drop your pants, use the toilet, and pull your pants back up.
  6. Turn the faucet on, wash your hands, turn the faucet off, and wipe your hands off on a towel. 


So what, right?  You've done this routine thousands of times in your life, to the point that you could probably do it in your sleep (and some of you do, routinely!). 


But before you did it right the first time, you had to learn it.  And before you knew how to do it, each of those seemingly simple steps must have seemed impossibly difficult.  Each involves an intricate sequence of actions and a complex coordination of body parts.  How many times do you think you'd have to trial-and-error each of those steps before you got it right?


Fortunately, hopefully, somewhere along the way, someone showed you how to do each of those things, saving you countless repetitions of trial and error.  Even so, how many times did they have to show you, and how many times did you have to try and fail under their watch?


And so I am discovering the importance of repetition and routine and habit when it comes to raising our daughter.  She is a completely blank slate.  She does not know how to do any of those steps.  Nor does she know how to use a spoon, cross the street, or blow her nose.  For as quickly as she currently learns, there are so many things to learn.  And so I longer discount the importance of repetition and routine and habit.  Because as slow as it might seem at the time, it's much faster than the alternative of trial and error. 

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