Brenda’s Blog – June 2, 2020
“Why do we do this?”
The small girl in the restroom stood next to her Mom at the sink. “Wash your hands and put on sanitizer.” “Mommy, why do I do this?” “I don’t know – we just do, so go ahead and get it done.”
I smiled to myself, then thought — how many times in life do we act in an automatic way not really knowing why, just knowing we are to do.
When my siblings and I grew up we were familiar with ‘Because I said so.” The three of us were all strong willed, challenging Mom constantly. We knew, though, that the arguments stopped when she gave us “the look” followed by “Because I said so.” No more arguments.
Habits are essential to get us through each day without burning out our brains. Today we talk about “hacks” which are shortcuts… that is the role habits play. We don’t stop to wonder why – we just do. Unfortunately, this is a two-edged sword: we have good and bad habits which kick in without much concentration.
Dad had a colleague who attributed his success to good habits. His perspective on their use interested me. “I don’t use my habits for the days I want to work – that takes care of itself; I use my habits when I don’t want to work.”
Years ago I began reading the Psalms systematically: 1) the psalm with the number of the day 2) the psalm adding 30 each time e.g. Day 1 is Psalm 1 plus 31, 61, 91, 121. Then I read the Proverb of the day. During a dark season in my life I struggled with Bible reading until my habit kicked in. The habit established years before served me well until I could get back on my feet.
The little girl asked her Mom the “why” of washing her hands. She knew nothing about Coronavirus, but she knew this was something new. Mom didn’t really know why, but she knew it was what everyone said to do. Although it is good to have a rationale for our actions, sometimes we kick into habit and just do it.