Today I Learn… I make a point of learning something new everyday. This is what I learn each day

1, Jul 20, 2008

Habit and character by William James

Filed under: Education,Reading — admin @ 8:49 am

I was reading a book on The Principles of Psychology, by William James.  The writer was born around mid 1800s.

Habit is thus the enormous fly-wheel of society, its most precious conservative agent.  It alone is what keeps us all within the bounds of ordinance, and save the children of fortune from the envious uprisings of the poor. It alone prevents the hardest and most repulsive walks of life from being deserted by those brought up to tread therein. It keeps the fisherman and the deck-hand at sea through the winter; it holds the miner in his darkness, and nails the countryman to his log cabin and his lonely farm through all the months of snow; it protects us from invasion by the natives of the desert and the frozen zone. It dooms us all to fight out the battle of life upon the lines of our nurture or our early choice, and to make the best of a pursuit that disagrees, because there is no other for which we are fitted, and it is too late to begin again. It keeps different social strata from mixing.” (VOL1/P121)

The author drove home the crucial place of habit in a person’s life and in a society. His concept of habit sounds more like character to me. What does all this mean to parents?  Believe it or not, it means tremendously a lot. I believe family is the first nest where children’s initial habits/character are cultivated and nurtured. The key factors involved in the habit forming process are parents’ daily behavior and usage of language, parenting style, friends and school.  If you grow up with a banker, you learn how to count money; with a cook, you learn how to generate a delicious dish.  Well, yes, with exceptions.

If a child grows up into an undesirable social being, like doing shoplifting, bank robbery, drug-selling, his/her parents are the only culprits responsible for this habit.  Conversely, if he becomes a reborn Bill Gate, the credit goes to his mom/dad.  Don’t forget to share your profit with your creditors.

1 Comment »

  1. Agree! –“The key factors involved in the habit forming process are parents’ daily behavior and usuage of language, parenting style, friends and school. ” Here are what I got and agree in Chinese. 性格决定命运 气度影响格局 —
    优秀是一种习惯 生命是一种过程 放弃是一种智慧 缺陷是一种恩惠 两点之间最短的距离并不一定是直线 只有知道如何停止的人才知道如何加快速度

    Comment by another_mom_with_2 — 1, Jul 21, 2008 @ 11:04 am

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