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Fifty-two Story Talks To Boys And Girls by Howard J. Chidley


I wonder if I can make plain to you what a habit is. Have you ever seen men laying concrete sidewalks here in the city, and they put boards across to keep people from walking on the pavements before they were thoroughly dry? I am sure you have. These men keep people off the walk while it is soft because, if any one steps on it, then his footprints harden into the walk as it dries, and will always remain there.

Now, boys' and girls' minds are just like those cement walks when they are wet and soft; and if you do a thing over and over again as a boy or girl, you will make such a deep mark in your brains that when you grow up you cannot get the mark out, and you just keep on doing it, whether you want to or not.

When once you do a thing, it is easier to do it again. Even cloth and paper find it easier to do a thing a second time than the first. The sleeves of your dresses and coats fall into the same wrinkles and creases every time you put them on. That is what we call the |hang| of a dress or coat. And if you fold a piece of paper once, it quickly gets the habit of folding along the same crease again.

And so you see that it is very important for you to get good habits as boys and girls, for first you make the habits, and then the habits make you.

You have often seen a little brook running along between its banks and over its pebbly bed. Well, once there was no brook-bed there, but gradually, years ago, a little stream began to trickle through, and finally it wore out a bed for itself. Now it cannot leave the bed if it wishes to. That is just what you do when you make a habit: you make a course which you will follow later in life.

First you take the train, then the train takes you. First the stream makes the bed, then the bed guides the stream.

They tell us that after we are thirty years of age we are little more than a bundle of habits. I suppose thirty years seems a long way off for you boys and girls, but you will reach it if you live. And there will be men living somewhere who will hear the name that you boys now have, and you are deciding now by the habits you make what sort of man he is going to be. If you want him to be a good, honorable, strong man, be sure you form good habits now.

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