Here are her thoughts:
...the child's most fixed and dominat habits are those which the mother takes no pains about, but which the child picks up for himself through his close observation of all that is said and done, felt and thought, in his home.
We have already considered a group of half-physical habits-order, regularity, neatness which the child imbibes, so to speak, in this way. But this is not all: habits of gentleness, courtesy, kindness, candour, respect for other people, or-habits quite other than these, are inspired by the child as the very atmosphere of his home, the air he lives in and must grow by.
Home Education, pg. 136-137
As I read this I was once again reminded that actions speak louder than words.
The habits that will be most ingrained in the hearts and minds of my children will not be the habits that I try to teach them, but the ones that they observe in my life, and their father's life. Surely, no one has ever believed that do as I say, not as I do could ever work?
So as I begin to work on habit training my children the very first thing I must do is look into myself. Does the atmosphere I create in our home allow my children to develop habits that will benefit them?
It's quite easy for me to maintain a sense of order and regularity to our days. I am a person who thirves on routine and schedules (former Kindergarten teacher here). My children do quite well with a routine. I feel like it gives them a sense of security.
The habits of gentleness, courtesy, kindness, candour, respect for others are the ones that I really need to continually work on in myself so that I can see progress in the lives of my children.
I am reminded of Colossians 3:12,
Therefore, as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindess, humility,gentleness and patience.
and Galations 5:22,
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such there is no law.
So for me, the key is spending some time in bible study and prayer each morning before I am faced with a day full of having to show gentleness when we are in a hurry to leave; kindness when the drink is spilled on my freshly mopped floor; courtesy when someone pulls out in front of me while driving; candour when someone makes a different decision than I would have;respect when I am discipling a two and three year old.
As always, when I set out to help someone else, the first thing that needs to be changed is myself.