Education is one of the major areas where much pressure is placed on the children. Parents, teachers and elders are more anxious about the growth of the children. As Martin Davies says, “Parenting is the process of promoting and supporting the physical, emotional, social and intellectual development of a child from infancy to adulthood.” It is early days’ formation that nurtures the characters of a child.
Let children achieve good habits as they grow up. A Tamil proverb says that what cannot be bent in five (tender age) cannot be tamed in fifty (old age). Good habits have to be nurtured from the earliest days.
Here are seven tips to cultivate good habits in children.
1) First we should learn to appreciate others. We should encourage the children to cultivate the habit of praising others. The famous US author Rick Warren, who led the prayer service of President Obama’s inauguration function, says, “Your character is essentially the sum of your habits.” Parents have great responsibility to initiate the children follow good habits. Changing bad habits is very difficult. As someone rightly puts it, first we make our habits and then our habits make us. It is quite obvious that the children gain a lot when they cultivate good habits.
2) The habit of forgiving others is a very important character to be cultivated very young. We admire people who forgive others. Jesus Christ tells us to forgive others. Since the grudges that we keep within us affect our health and our performance, it is better to forgive others. When we forgive other our relationship is strengthened.
3) Teach them to look at the good side of everything. It is the very foundation of harmonious existence. Finding fault is easier. But not to find fault is more difficult. When this habit of looking at the good side is cultivated in us, others are drawn to us.
4) Some recent movies have been found out to portray that thanking others and apologizing to parents and friends is not necessary. They take it for granted that those who are near and dear to us do not deserve to be thanked or apologized. This is not correct. The fragrance of gratitude is quite pleasing. Most human actions can be broadly divided into two: good acts and bad ones. Good acts should be thanked. Bad deeds are to be forgiven readily when the offender apologizes.
5) Our children have to learn the merit of cultivating the habits of apologizing, thanking and forgiving. They should learn to say, “thank you” and “I am sorry” even for little things. They should practice using the terms like, “Please, excuse me”, etc. Such practices give an edge to children.
6) Children should be practiced to face problems. Every problem is an opportunity. Mother Teresa treated every problem as a ‘gift’ from God. They should not be baffled at problems. They should not blame others or complain or say excuses at adversities. This is a common defect that we find in children. Let them look at the bright side of things.
7) Another important habit to learn is to keep things in the right place. Parents should be good examples for this. Unless they learn to put things in order, how can they expect their children to put things in the right place and do right things at the right time?
Learning good habits and practicing them at the right time in the right place is very important in life. Good habits have to be cultivated in children at the right time.
We should always remember the old rhyme,
“Sow a thought, reap an action;
Sow an action, reap a habit;
Sow a habit, reap a character;
Sow a character, reap a destiny.”