“We are born seeing only our own needs and must be taught to be sensitive to the concerns of others. This training must start at a tender age. Early on, children must be conditioned to be giving, patient, considerate and kind. Even simple words like ‘thank you’ and ‘please’ must be taught and are not to be taken for granted – as evidenced by their absence from the vocabulary of so many adults.
“Unfortunately, in many homes these values are never imparted. Often, parents regard inappropriate behavior as ‘cute’ or something their children will outgrow. There are also parents who have no clue as to what constitutes a ‘good heart’; they raise their children without teaching the disciplines that foster goodness. So it is that there are so many obnoxious adults.”
“But can’t you acquire these disciplines later in life?” she asked.
“Of course you can,” I assured her, “but it’s very difficult to unlearn ingrained character traits. And for a spouse to undo them is virtually impossible. No one should marry in the hope of changing the other. The best we can do is change ourselves.”
(To Be Continued)