Just 1 thing.
Focus on this 1 thing.
Do this 1 thing.
Are you ever overwhelmed by too many things? I am.
The responsibility to train and discipline my children seems overwhelming sometimes.
So I prayed and the Lord inspired me with this slogan ~
Just this 1 thing.
As I prayed and waited, the Lord gently guided my thinking to the 1 thing in my life and for each of my children that needed attention. It came simply and clearly.
- Just a few words to sum up the thing.
- State the thing in the positive.
- Focus and reinforce that 1 thing till the break-through.
I suppose Charlotte Mason’s instruction on habit training helped focus this. She says,
“It is necessary that the mother be always on the alert to nip in the bud the bad habit her children may be in the act of picking up from others.” (Vol. 1, p. 118)
Expect prompt, cheerful obedience. “It is enough to say, ‘Do this,’ in a quiet, authoritative tone, and expect it to be done … The child should be daily confirming a habit of obedience by the unbroken repetition of acts of obedience.” (Vol. 1, p. 162-163)
I wondered how to approach this with my children, but the opportunity presented itself individually as my normal parenting occurred. A situation where the weakness was plain happened. I smiled gently and took the plunge – “There is just 1 thing I want you to think about right now: just this 1 thing ~ …”
And I described it simply. Just used a few words. In fact, I kept shrinking all the words till 1 word could sum it all up. (For example it could be: “Hang up your wet bath towel after you have dressed” becomes, “Hang up wet towels” and finally becomes, “Towel”.) I kept it totally positive. Do-able.
Then we did it together. I watched to make sure it was done as I wanted it done. I smiled.
“Yes, that is right. We will keep at this 1 thing till it is always right, ok?”
My youngest got it. She and I agreed that discipline would stay private, but that I could remind her by saying, “Remember, that 1 thing.”
So far, this week, I have used that slogan a few times. I know that it is fresh and still funny.
But it works.
Without speeches, lectures (and I am so good/bad at those!) or debates, they get the message.
Each one’s “thing” is different.
At this moment I am focussing on their characters.
But it will work with training in any area; character training, schooling, relationships, personal habits, routines.
It may be about ~
- how they do the work,
- not needing reminding,
- following through in the task without disruptions,
- doing the task the right way the first time,
- their promptness,
- their attitude while doing the task …
I am so grateful to the Lord for His grace and loving-kindness towards me. He keeps working on all my missing and broken parts until I become His Handiwork.
How do you simplify the enormous task of training your children?