I read in The Tipping Point, by Malcom Gladwell-
"Wilson and Kelling argued that crime is the inevitable result of disorder. If a window is broken and left unrepaired, people walking by will conclude that no one cares and no one is in charge. Soon, more windows will be broken, and the sense of anarchy will spread from the building to the street on which it faces, sending a signal that anything goes....
This is an epidemic theory of crime. It says that crime is contagious-just as a fashion trend is contagious- that it can start with a broken window and spread to an entire community."
Mother's have known about this phenomena for centuries. Go ahead test it in your home.
- Leave a few dirty dishes out overnight in the den.
- Leave an open bag of candy in a room where food is not generally allowed.
- Leave mail and paperwork out on a table.
- Fill your sofa with unsorted laundry.
Then stand back and watch your otherwise well-trained children suddenly forget how to load the dishwasher. Watch them sneak candy, leave papers all over the house, start discarding dirty socks willy nilly and generally rolling on the floor with the dogs.
O.k. so maybe this is just my house. However, when I read this section out of The Tipping Point it vindicated what I've noticed in my personal microcosm; if I can maintain a certain level of order and beauty in my house, then my "people" are helpful and respectful of the environment. It's the "The Power Of Context."
Or perhaps it's even an older idea to be put into concrete everyday practice, "Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things." Philippians 4:8
After all, in Scripture thought is always presupposed to be followed by actions.