“Be careful of the habits you make,” my father used to lecture, cigarette in one hand, whiskey in the other. “They will either make of you a slave or a master.”
Of course, I had no idea what he was talking about, and I hated that his sermons were always: “Do what I say, not what I do!”
Slave, master…such nonsense to a kid who just wanted to play and had no obligations.
I tried the bottle, and smoked just to spite him – neither habit stuck. I vowed not to be like him. Funny enough, that didn’t work out very well either. Luckily, Dad modelled some good habits too – always rose early, started with a good breakfast, kept physically fit, and had a stellar work ethic.
And he kept his personal struggles to himself.
“No need to take your bad mood out on everyone else,” he’d say as he strode out the door ready to take on the world.
He was a motivator of men, my father. People lined up at his funeral to tell me how he had changed their lives. I wasn’t sure they were talking about the same man that raised us with such a tyrannical fist. Obviously, my father’s habits helped him master the external, and reduced him to a slave in his private life.
Lately, I’ve been thinking about my father’s words and questioning my habits – not just the easily detectable, but what lies behind them. Sure, I have a tendency to snack at bedtime, but why? How does this serve me? Am I eating because I’m really hungry? Seldom? Then what emotion/ need/ lacking am I stuffing back down?
This week, I invite you to join me in thinking about the habits that either enslave or empower your life. As always, interpret the challenge as you will.
To participate, create a post and then link back here, or drop the url to your post in the comments below. Look forward to your responses.