This announcement means it is time for the children to prepare the table for a meal. Our oldest is assigned with wiping off place mats. Next comes our second son with utensils. Finally our daughter makes sure the water cups are set out (my kids can drink like camels). They need some reminding at times, but everyone usually does a good job of remembering their chores and pitching in so we are all ready for the meal.
Michael, the oldest, loves to be my right hand assistant in cooking. He loves applying his scientific/analytical mind to food preparation. Sometimes he even approaches it like a building project. No wonder he wants to be an engineer in the future. This particular night, while preparing for supper, I called on him to help. This is what happened.
“Michael!” He came from his room right away (such a perfect child) and asked what I needed. I indicated the counter was all a mess where I had just cut potatoes into steak fries. I asked him to use the dish cloth to clean up the potato juice (evidently my cutting board was too small). Michael proceeded to get the dishcloth in his hands and head for the table where he dutifully wiped off the place mats.
When I saw what he had done, I asked him if he realized what had happened. He laughed and said it was out of routine/habit. I agreed. Then I asked him if he realized how many habits he was forming now. “Michael, if you are in the habit of playing games on the computer before you start your homework, do you think you will magically change that habit when you get into college because you suddenly realize you need to be a responsible adult?”
Michael admitted that the habits he formed now he would carry throughout his life, unless he purposed to form a new habit. He also admitted that he was forming habits right now and he needed to make sure they were good ones.
Why, as humans, do we really think that we can have a habit of always doing the same thing day in and day out, but when “the big test” comes we will suddenly do the right thing? We are creatures of habit. What we practice is what we will do. Take the time to really be honest and look at some of your habits. Are they good ones? Are there some you hope that will not affect you when the time comes to act differently? Then perhaps now is the time to start the change. Form a new habit. You can do it!