Building Catholic Character in Students: Develop Good Habits

catholic book character

The Catholic Book of Character and Success: Chapter Notes

Chapter Eight: Develop Good Habits.

  • Under the everyday circumstances that come your way, the way you act is characteristic of your personality.
  • Those who come across you regularly build up a picture of your character and know how you will act under certain conditions.
  • If you are timid they may try and impose on you because they know your weaknesses.
  • If you are strong they may be more cautious as they will expect you to fight back.
  • If you are a kind character, some may come to you in confidence for help.
  • If you are cold and uncaring, you will be the last to be approached as they will know beforehand of their reception.
  • If you are prompt, organised and dependable then you can expect folk to call on you when they are looking for those qualities.
  • You are inclined therefore to act in a certain way, however you know that you retain the free will to form different habits.
  • A habit is nothing more than an inward tendency to act in a certain way, which has been formed over time.
  • Every mental and bodily faculty we possess has the ability to be formed into a habit.
  • We are really just a bundle of various habits.
  • Our senses have habits, as have our mind and memory.
  • Our will is wonderfully influenced by habits, which is the most important to form, as it regulates our personality.
  • Our other faculties are not free, like our eyes or ears: they cannot but help see and hear within their physical limits.
  • But our will has choice. It can choose good or evil. It dominates our being.
  • By harnessing our will and exercising willpower we can grow our intellect, imagination and memory towards the good so as to infect our whole self.
  • We ennoble our whole being by making daily choices for the good.
  • But although our will is free it remains influenced by strong habits built from past actions.
  • When we train the will through firm decisions that are good, we form the habit of rectitude.
  • When we yield to the unworthy we increase our propensity towards evil.
  • Of all habits, four are the cornerstones of a good personality.
  • The habits of prudence, justice, temperance and fortitude are the deep roots of goodness.
  • They are the cardinal virtues: the latin root ‘cardo’ meaning ‘hinge’.
  • The door to a good character are hung upon these four hinges.
  • To lack any one of these virtues, points to a weak character.
  • However to have any one of them to a high degree means possession of all four, since they are linked in mutual interdependence.
  • By studying these four habits or virtues, we lay the foundations for a permanently strong character.

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