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Carefully watch your thoughts, for they become your words. Manage and watch your words, for they will become your actions. Consider and judge your actions, for they have become your habits. Acknowledge and watch your habits, for they shall become your values. Understand and embrace your values, for they become your destiny.
One of the first things I think young people, especially nowadays, should learn is how to see for yourself and listen for yourself and think for yourself. Then you can come to an intelligent decision for yourself. If you form the habit of going by what you hear others say about someone, or going by what others think about someone, instead of searching that thing out for yourself and seeing for yourself, you will be walking west when you think you’re going east, and you will be walking east when you think you’re going west.
I have full faith in people. I think that we have the ability to change. We’re habitual creatures. Once we figure out that bad habit and identify it, whether it’s behavioral or whatever it may be, we change our habits. Obviously, I’m simplifying it and making it sound very easy to do, and we all know it’s very difficult, but it’s doable.
There are two kinds of discontented in this world, the discontented that works and the discontented that wrings its hands. The first gets what it wants and the second loses what it has. There is no cure for the first but success and there is no cure at all for the second. The very worst of my vices and bad habits will abate of themselves if they are brought to an accounting every day.
After each failure, ask forgiveness, pick yourself up, and try again. Very often what God first helps us toward is not the virtue itself but just this power of always trying again. For however important chastity (or courage, or truthfulness, or any other virtue) may be, this process trains us in habits of the soul which are more important still. It cures our illusions about ourselves and teaches us to depend on God. We learn, on the one hand, that we cannot trust ourselves even in our best moments, and, on the other, that we need not despair even in our worst, for our failures are forgiven.
In one family, all goes by two and two. If a member of it has any interest, he or she will confide it to some one other; but the rest know nothing. In another family, all feel what touches one; nothing is kept dark from the father and mother, brothers and sisters–all share. This family habit is by far the better, it strengthens the tie between the members, and makes the home one home.