Habits Are Like Fleas

Every day, every hour, the parents are either passively or actively forming those habits in their children upon which, more than upon anything else, future character and conduct depend. Vol 1 Pg 118

No FleasI am tired, I really mean it.  Physically, mentally, and emotionally I am drained.  I have bombed, I have sprayed, Borax-ed, and yes, prayed.  As I vacuumed my semi-shag carpet in the basement for the umpteenth time I realized how much this whole situation reminded me of habits and the training thereof.

At first, one of my kids said they had an itchy spot, it being summer I thought it was just mosquitos.  You have to understand that I have never really had an indoor pet so fleas never entered my mind.   The two dogs that sleep indoors do just that, sleep indoors.  They are out all day but sleep in their crates at night.  One of them is cozied up to my daughter’s bed in a room with semi-shag carpet. They have, however, been rehomed to the mudroom until this situation is rectified.

Before I knew it, we were sitting in our library area doing lessons and I saw those little black bugs jumping on my children.  I knew then, it was serious.  War was declared.

What do habits and fleas have in common? Let me explain, a bad habit will not seem like it is in your face at first.  It can be a disrespectful attitude, a scowling glance, unjoyful obedience or any other number of “little” incidents that pass under a parent’s eye.  Especially if the parent is preoccupied with other endeavors.  If preoccupation sets in so will the habit and it will then increase, multiply, and begin to reign in the “carpet” of your child’s heart.  Before you know it, you are are in an all-out war and if you are like me, you stand there with your mouth gaping and wondering what on earth do I do? How did this even happen?  How do I fix this?

To tackle this problem I had to strip the area to the bare bones first.  Vacuuming was next and then a fogging was in order, I am the last person to want to use chemicals, but I had met my limit.  And you know what?  My formulated plan of precision fogging and vacuuming didn’t get rid of those nasty black bugs in one fell swoop!  Do you know what has worked the best?  Vacuuming. Consistently.

While vacuuming is when it occurred to me that consistency is the best process for good habits in our children and ourselves.  I expected to have a one and done experience with fleas, but in reality, it has taken a good week and I will continue to vacuum daily until the day  I die.  If we expect to give our children a nice little lesson or poem on let’s say, picking up after themselves, then we don’t follow through in making sure the habit is adhered to, should we be upset when the child fails?  No, we cannot fault the child.

So what do we do?  How do we handle this? Well, bare bones.  Get to the heart of the problem, if need be, take time to cut extracurriculars and spend time with your child.  It is that important.  If it is something you wish to cultivate then it should be worth the time that it takes to grow.  Once you have established your expectations and your child is fully aware of what you expect then begin the daily task of “vacuuming”. And never forget to bathe yourself and your child in prayer.  Over the years, there have been times when I knew that my patience was a gift from God, not of my own power.

It does seem laborious and at times the days long, but we shall reap if we do not faint.  I am hoping to reap dead bugs?  What are your plans?

2 thoughts on “Habits Are Like Fleas

  1. Yes, being consistent is key..remember..I had to buy a second vacuum, because I burnt one up on a flea breakout…. I love you..u will over come it..it’s tedious..but, can be conquered! Love Mom


  2. I’ve been there just this week…it’s so subtle, those expressions you see in their faces…So great example, great reminder – thank you much!


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