“When should I begin to acquire good habits?” a young boy asked his learned teacher.
“How old are you?’ inquired the teacher.
“Eight years old, sir.”
“They you have just lost eight years,” the teacher replied.
There is no doubt that habits are formed at very early age. When one is young it is almost as easy to acquire a good habit as a bad one. It is up to us to recognize and adopt good habits.
Good habits are practices that help us in our daily life and that are pleasing to people we meet. The habit of brushing one’s teeth in the morning, for instance, keeps one’s teeth clean and prevents a stale smell, which is unpleasant to others. Bad habits such as sticking one’s tongue out, biting one’s finger-nails, picking one’s nose or splitting, are undesirable ways of behaving in front of others. If we want people to enjoy being with us, we should try to develop habits that are pleasant and, in our work and daily activities, we should form such baits as help us to increase our efficiently. We must not think only of acquiring god social habits but also try to acquire good character-forming habits when are young.
Habits, whether good or bad, are formed by a process of repetition. You commit an act once, you do it again, you repeat it a third time, and at length you do it without effort, quite involuntarily. Eventually, a habit becomes a part of your nature and you don’t pause to think about why you are doing it. It is, therefore, imperative that you learn to behave correctly and form the right habits when you are young, so that you grow up to be a pleasant, efficient and likable adult.
It is said, “We sow an act, we reap a habit, we sow a habit, and we reap a character.” The habits we form at an early age ultimately shape our character. Habits are like tributaries which flow into a river. The river is made up of all its tributaries in the same way; a person’s character is made up all the habits that he or she has acquired over the years. The habits you form now act as a foundation=-stone of your future conduct.
One day, Hamid woke up late and missed the school bus. He walked to school and arrived after the first period was over. He was afraid of being punished, but he told the truth and his teacher allowed him to join the class. But she warned him to be late to school. A week later, Hamid was again late to school. But this time he told a lie and got away with it. A few days later, the same thing happened. Hamid arrived late, he told a lie which the teacher accepted and he joined the class.
Hamid found it convenient to be late. It enabled him to get up late and helped to shorten the school day. He didn’t mind telling a ‘small lie’ since he liked going late to school. He felt that the other children admired him because he was doing something the others would like to do but did not have the courage to do.
Gradually, Hamid acquired the bad habit of being late of inventing some story to explain away his unpunctuality.
Even after he left school and college, he could not help being late for everything and then lying about it. His employers reprimanded him for submitting his work late. When they threatened to dismiss him, Hamid tried desperately to rid himself of his bad habit, but it was too late the damage had been done. Hamid lost his job.
A man of experience says that there are four good habits- punctuality, accuracy, steadiness and efficiency. Without the first, time is wasted; without the second, mistakes are made; without the third, nothing can be done well; and without the four, all is lost. To this we may add the habits of prudence, discipline and contentment as being most desirable.
Bad habits, like weeds, spring up from time to time to choke the plants of virtue. And like weeds, bad habits are difficult to uproot. People often think that they can easily overcome their bad habits but it requires a lot of patient, will-power and discipline to do so. It is most important, therefore, that we should acquire good habits at the very start of our life.