Building Catholic Character in Students: Do not Fear what others Think

catholic book character

The Catholic Book of Character and Success: Chapter Notes

Chapter Twenty-Eight: Do not fear what others think.

  • Their is a natural inclination within us to both please others and avoid their displeasure.
  • This can strengthen us to succeed in life by maintaining a life of integrity.
  • But there is a danger in excessively conforming to public opinion, as often it is wrong and immoral.
  • Great people usually have to experience struggle  with the public mood against them until they grow strong enough to shape public opinion.
  • Often this criticism comes from within one’s own group of friends and family, but if not, it is certain that those who are within our circle of acquaintances will frown upon any moral leadership shown.
  • Especially amongst the youth, those who stand firm and refuse to get involved in the fads of the day, are branded as peculiar and anti-social.
  • A man must draw on all of his virtues to resist public opinion when it is evil, yet to use it when it is good.
  • Prudence and a firm resolve to act with reason, is the only way to examine public opinion, lest one gets carries away in the zeitgeist of the day.
  • When reason identifies evil in public opinion, the man must take up the fight and battle against it.
  • Two men may strive towards the same just goal but their tactics are received differently by the public: one meets a storm of protest, whilst the other through tact, meets much less resistance.
  • Temperance and diligence will guide us to moderate and order our battles.
  • We ought to avoid angering others and disturbing the peace when possible.
  • Of course there are times that no other way is possible but to fly in the face of public opinion, but even so, at these times, meekness and temperance will stand in better stead than egotism.
  • More than anything, great fortitude will sustain those who look danger in the eye and stand firm despite public disapproval.
  • Examine your conscience and judge how much you meet public opinion, evil though it may be, with prudence, temperance and tact.
  • When one can conquer this obstacle, they have taken great strides towards the successful life.

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