How Your Habits Grow

How Your Habits Grow

Before me, as I write, sits a jar of fine white powder, much like flour in appearance. In fact, you couldn't tell the difference.

This powder is called plaster of Paris. If you've ever had a broken bone and the doctor wrapped your limb in a cloth strip covered with a whitish looking substance, then you know what plaster of Paris is. Within a few moments after it has been moistened, it sets into a rocklike substance that cannot be bent. In fact, considerable strength is required to break it.

Habits, both good and bad, are somewhat like plaster of Paris. Once formed and rigidly set, it requires a strong person—strong of character, that is—to break them. This applies to our physical, mental, and spiritual habits.

For example, when I was a junior in high school, I took a course in typewriting. Not as wise as I thought I was, I tried for speed instead of accuracy, just the opposite of what the typing teacher advised. In my haste, I formed the habit of making certain errors. Today, twenty-five years later, I still make these mistakes. How many thousand times I have misspelled certain words would be hard to estimate. All because of habits formed when I was fifteen.

One lad I know played poor basketball. He could throw, but he couldn't hold the ball when it was thrown to him. Finally, his coach noticed that he held his hands in a poor position for catching. He made the boy catch several thousand times, until his hands automatically assumed the correct position. The boy went on then to make the team, something he'd never have been able to do with his old habit.

One girl I know puts her homework off until late at night or the next morning. Result—she's either too sleepy or too hurried to do good work. Unless she corrects herself, she'll go through life doing poor work, far below her real ability.

The Rockefeller family is known the world over for its generosity. An accident? Not at all. The original Rockefeller millionaire, John D. Sr., made it a practice to give one tenth of his income to his church. As a boy, making fifty cents a week, he gave a nickel. As his income grew, so did his donations. Finally, he established huge foundations, or organizations, to give away his money in a sensible way.

If you form the right spiritual habits now, some day you'll be the kind of person you want to be. Frequent prayers, daily Bible reading, regular attendance at church, the attitude of humility, the spirit of friendship and love for others, the feeling of sympathy toward the less fortunate—all these spiritual habits you are forming now, or you aren't. One or the other.

Our lives are like the plaster of Paris. Once formed, they are very hard to change. It works either way. Develop good, Godly, Christ-like habits and attitudes, and you'll be a strong character when you're grown. And now is the time to begin.

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