There’s a line adapted from Aristotle but given to us by the historian Will Durant: We are what we repeatedly do. Therefore, excellence is not an act but a habit.
The real question as parents then is, what are we making our kids do?
Manners can seem silly, and enforcing them pointless, but perhaps conscientiousness and politeness are virtues worth instilling. Unboxing videos on YouTube seem harmless, but perhaps letting them spend hours vegged out, internalizing the mechanics of materialism, is the opposite of what we want them to embody.
Take a minute today and ask yourself what traits you want your kids to embody. Think about what excellence looks like to you. And, be honest: Are you helping them make any of these things a habit? How do your routines, how does your life, help them fuse those traits into their DNA?
Excellence isn’t something we pursue as a destination. It’s something we pursue in the doing. Day in and day out. In the little things as well as the big things. It’s something that emerges when we turn that type of pursuit through action into a habit. And it’s our job as parents to help our kids realize this. To help them realize who they are by what they do day to day, what they do this day, today.
We are what we do repeatedly.