What is this innate phenomenon called repetition? As children we love to hear the same stories and songs again and again, we like wearing the same maroon jeans with the rainbow bright belt (yes, I was a child of the 80s), we like our hair in our signature braids. It is common knowledge that one of the most ancient and effective learning tools ever devised by man is the powerful principle of repetition.
But here is my question, is it really true that human beings somehow need to see, hear, and do things again and again and again in order to acquire any kind of growth or self-improvement? After 33 years in the church (ok, the last three don’t count since I don’t go anymore), I became disenchanted because of the all repetition, and I felt that I couldn’t voice my disenchantment lest the age old rebuttals came into play. All I saw was a sea of the same. The same lessons. The same temple ceremony. The same. The same. The same.
I am a teacher and I teach the same lesson to basically the same group of teens seven times over a period of two days, then I repeat the process over and over again. Every hour and twenty-five minutes I, in a sense, repeat my life seven different times.
Are all people asked to do this? Do you make the same decisions, have the same conversations with co-workers, do you follow the same routine every day, or is it just me? How do you feel about this? Is there something to be learned from all of these daily tasks of repetitions? Does it make you appreciate the moments that are truly unique? Is it possible to have a job and a life where every day brings a uniqueness? I am not talking about the chance we all have to create small moments of uniqueness each day, but truly doing different things every day. Is it possible? Would we like it?
Or do we like wearing the same warm, lush, striped socks to bed every night, having the same cereal for breakfast every morning, take that same drive home to visit our parents each month, styling our hair the same way, getting the same phone calls from people who need to talk about the things they always need to talk about?
We watch movies with the same story lines again and again and again.
We listen to the same music, or a particular song a thousand times…why?
As a people, are we not really looking for “fresh” as much as we are looking for “familiar”? In regards to the church, is this why many who may have concerns stay–because it is known and familiar? I know we’ve been told that humans are forgetful and need to remember–but is there a difference between knowing how to remember and being faced with endless repetition?
How do you deal with the repetitions so they serve you instead of disconnect you?