I am teaching my students how to form good character. Another theology teacher gave me this character tree, it is a great way to teach my students about this concept. I hope it helps you as well. Sometimes we don’t relate our habits to our character. We take our thoughts, words, and actions and try to separate them from who we perceive ourselves to be. No one wants to look at their bad habits and think, yep that’s why I am becoming an inconsiderate person.
We each have virtues, good habits that lead us in a good direction towards God. We also have vices, bad habits that lead us to selfish ways of living, away from God. There is not a person who has ever lived who did not have both. What we fail to remember is that every thought we have has the potential to turn into an action. So, we need to monitor our thoughts. I tell my children when they have bad or scary thoughts to pray, “Satan, get behind me. God, please be with me and take these thoughts away.” It works for me and my children. Sometimes it takes lots of practice saying this over and over again until the horrible thoughts deteriorate but it does happen. Our thoughts turn into actions which become our habits and our habits build our character, who we are as a person. Our character will lead us to our destiny which could be many things; marriage, family, and love, or being alone, isolated, and sad. Ultimately our actions, habits, and character will lead us to a life with God or a life without God. God is love and a life without love is a very desolate place, in fact it is hell. Hell is the lack of God.
Today, consider some of your virtues and some of your vices. Know that you can change your vices into virtues and turn it all around. Surround yourself with virtuous people, who choose to do good instead of bad and the choices to do good will come easier to you. Thoughtfully pray about the habits you have and whether those habits are leading you towards a destiny that you truly desire, in the long run.