Sunday, April 23, 2006

The Habit of Perfect Execution- Part 2

This habit of PERFECT EXECUTION should be a general principal for many, many areas of the child’s life. Once you have given the child an age-appropriate task, expect their best. I would like to clarify that when I refer to ‘perfect’ I mean doing their absolute best. “I don’t expect perfection, but I DO expect your best,” is a statement I say almost daily to my sweet children. I just believe that many mothers THINK they are requiring their child’s best, but they are actually underestimating them.

It took three years for my daughter to learn how to clean a kitchen perfectly. The same principles I used for copywork I used here. I did not expect her to do the entire kitchen at first. I taught her one thing at a time and modeled it. Sometimes, I felt like throwing up my hands and taking over, but I didn’t, thankfully. I just made her keep redoing it over and over until she realized that she could save herself a lot of time and trouble if she would do the task perfectly the first time. At 13 years of age, the habit of perfect execution was in place and she could clean a kitchen beautifully and cook just about any meal I gave her. Today, she feels so capable and pleased with herself. She loves to work in the kitchen now and is truly a blessing to her family in this area. It took extra time on my part, but now I am reaping the benefits.

Even my three year old is required to make his bed every morning and to clean up his toys after he plays. I make sure he has a small manageable quilt that is easy to spread but it must be spread a certain way-not sideways or upside down or crooked. If he wants to go outside or play a game, etc, his toys must be picked up first. If he refuses, then he stays in his room until they are picked up. If he is choosing to be extra obstinate, then I, on purpose, think of something very fun for the children to do next, and broadcast it within his hearing. This usually does the trick and the task accomplished. If not, he may not participate in the event-no exceptions allowed.

I stopped making beds and cleaning up my children’s toys many years ago. I have other more important duties to attend to. In fact, my children almost have the full run of my house now. They do most of the cleaning, laundry and much of the cooking and baking. This frees me up to plan their school lessons, meals, etc…Natural consequences and rewards have been most helpful in teaching them this particular habit of perfect execution.

“The mother who takes pains to endow her children with good habits secures for herself smooth and easy days; while she who lets their habits take care of themselves has a weary life of endless friction with the children. All day she is crying out, 'Do this!' and they do it not; 'Do that!' and they do the other. 'But,’ you say, 'if habit is so powerful, whether to hinder or to help the child, it is fatiguing to think of all the habits the poor mother must attend to. Is she never to be at ease with her children?” Charlotte Mason


  1. previous commentors3.1.07

    April 25, 2006 - Untitled Comment

    Posted by reformingmama

    I would love to hear more details on this- you modeling for your daughter how to clean the kitchen perfectly. Beginning at what age? What were the 'segments' you modeled per time? How long did you give her/expect her to perfect these tasks?

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    April 25, 2006 - Untitled Comment

    Posted by OreoSouza

    Thank you for this.

    Out of my many children, I have one trying child, a little man adopted from Liberia. Just this morning I felt our day slipping out of control because of his actions. Then I read this entry, and tho it was about schooling, it became about my life with my little man. It encouraged me. It gave me courage to continue training.

    I read part 1 as well, and see that tho my little man is bright and able with school, I need to teach him in "little strokes of perfection" how to behave and respond and react.

    I don't have many difficult days. But when I do have one, what a comfort it is to find a possible small answer to help avoid difficult days in the future.

    So we will start with straight, perfect strokes and work on that till we get it right, then move on to attaching perfect circles to the perfect strokes.

    Thank you.

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    April 26, 2006 - Untitled Comment

    Posted by Anonymous

    Hi there,

    I have browsed through your blog a bit and I love it! I think your pictures are wonderful and your posts are encouraging, I will be back to visit with you!

    Please let me know if you need help making the pinwheel quilt!

    Randi--I have to say (I do the quilting posts on the company porch)

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    April 26, 2006 - Untitled Comment

    Posted by lindafay


    It's been awhile since I started teaching my daughters how to clean a kitchen but when I asked my daughters if they remember how they learned they immediately gave me a detailed list describing how we did it! So, either I will post it soon, or have one of them post it for you.

    I am so glad you are the mother of all those blessed children. Glad to be of some help.

    I visited your weblog. It is so fun. I feel a bit indulgent while reading it. My sister in law gave me a sewing machine for Christmas and I was able to take it back across the world with me and I am so excited. I had a 60 year old black Singer, but it died on me. It's probably worth a lot in the States now as an antique, but it is useless to me over here!


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    May 2, 2006 - Untitled Comment

    Posted by reformingmama

    That's an excellent idea- (having one of your daugthers post)! I would love to see that. Thank you for a thoughtful, resourceful blog!

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    May 4, 2006 - Nice to stumble across your blog,

    Posted by FaithfulGrace

    Thank you for your encouragement in disciplining our children.
    I have become lax in some areas. Time to step-up to the plate.
    My husband has been telling me that I've been to easy on the girls lately.
    I get tired of feeling like I'm always "on them". But as you shared, once you give in then they just push and push until they are always getting their way, and I'm left feeling impatient and tired of it all.

    Your name is my name and my mom's middle name combined. How unique.
    God bless,

  2. Thanks for this post. It is inspiring to know that you have succeeded in helping your children to work well at home. This is my goal as well, and it is encouraging to know that (at least in one family's case!) it is achieveable. You are equipping them wonderfully for life as well. I would have benefitted from learning more about home care before setting up my own home and now embarking on motherhood.

  3. Anonymous2.8.10

    Just curious~
    Is there plans for a part 3? Pretty, pretty please with a big promise to read it and learn from it on top? :)

    You are so helpful and encouraging!