Great changes are made with small consistent efforts

by Mary Ann on April 28, 2011

germs kids activities picture

Little children want to be in the middle of it all!

On Saturday I taught Jack, Maggie and Mary about germs and hygiene. It was chaotic. Mary was on the table and into everything. Jack wanted his own way. Maggie of course needs LOTS of help. Whew. Did they get any of that?

Monday, a full three days later, a miracle happened at dinner in the Palmer home. Out of the blue Jack said, “When you sneeze water comes out of your mouth.” He then proceeded to tell his mom and dad about how to blow your nose the right way, how to throw the tissue away so others don’t get sick and all about germs. AMAZING.

This brings me to what I want to remind you about today, the 1% principle (Concentrate on one right thing for consistent improvement ). I have talked about it before but it can’t be repeated too often. It is a principle which if understood and believed can free up moms and dads from quilt they feel when they think they are not doing enough, things aren’t going right or their expectations are just not being met. It can free them from perfectionism and allow them to just enjoy being with their children.

cute devil images

The 100% devil is a liar. Don't believe him!

Real growth comes from building on a solid consistent, right 1% improvement over time. However, we tend to live with and accept the 100% devil who says that if we aren’t doing it all right now in just the right way then we aren’t going to get a good result. Don’t believe the 100% devil. Just plan to improve 1% at a time consistently.

Back to the germ example. It was chaotic. We moved through the items quickly because of short attention spans. There were lots of interruptions while I was telling them something. How in the world could this turn out good.

Even I, with all of my experience, can still have some silly expectations sometimes. Kids are going to sit quietly and hang on your every word. They are going to put their hands on the paper correctly and put the stickers where they go and want to play all the games and sing all the songs. Please, let’s get real. That isn’t how it usually goes.

However, if you are clear about the 1% principle, that great changes are made with small and consistent efforts, then it will be acceptable; you will know in your heart that they are getting it; just like Jack. Three days later is a long time for a three year old.

Let me give you another example of the 1% principle in action. The Palmers have a family mission statement. They say it every

palmers family photo

The Joyful Palmer's are a Team

morning. One morning I was left in charge of devotional and I got to lead the reciting of the family mission statement. The first line goes like this – “The Joyful Palmers are a team. Yeaaa.” Well, as we began to recite that line the 16 month old raise her little fist into the air and yelled Yeaaaa. You see, she is 16 months old and the 1% principle is already at work in her life. She is getting it through consistency and repletion. You can bet this one line, understood at 16 months, will make a difference in her life.

If you do not yet have a family mission statement check out A Family Mission Statement: Part 1

For a better understanding of the 1% principle I recommend that you read Raving Fans by Ken Blanchard. It is a business book that translates perfectly to families. After all, aren’t you trying to get your children to be your raving fans?

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