I love it when I read something current that bolsters Charlotte Mason's teachings from long ago. The current bestseller, The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business by Charles Duhigg has some very interesting validations and explanations of what Charlotte taught on habits. Parts of the book are aimed more at understanding how habits impact businesses, but there is still a lot of interesting info here and the book is an easy read.
Here are a few quotes and thoughts from the book:
Talking about a woman who changed some major habits in her life: "they could still see the neural activity of her old behaviors, but those impulses were crowded out by new urges. As Lisa's habits changed, so had her brain."
An "amplification" of how to change a habit by football coach Tony Dungy: "That's the rule: If you use the same cue, adn provide the same reward, you can shift the routine and change the habit. Almost any behavior can be transformed if the cue and the reward stay the same." Thought this had some interesting implications on how to get children to stop doing the things we want them to stop and replace it with better things.
In a section on "keystone" habits, the author says "The habits that matter most are the ones that, when they start to shift, dislodge and remake other patterns." He was specifically talking about beginning exercising and how that tends to "spread" into diet and other things. But I couldn't help but think of a habit like attention or obedience and the ramifications of those positive habits on the rest of a child's habits.
This was REALLY interesting and another scientific support for a CM contention, that using our willpower instead of depending on our habits "tires" us out: "Willpower isn't just a skill. It's a muscle, like the muscles in your arms or legs, and it gets tired as it works harder, so there's less power left over for other things."
There is a quote at the end by William James: "Water hollows out for iteself a channel, which grows broader and deeper, and, after having ceased to flow, it resumes, when it flows again, the path traced by itself before." He attributes James as saying this is the most apt analogy for how a habit works.
It's a pretty interesting read for those interested in the subject of habits.