The message is clear. Father Kelly reminds the young adult that they have to follow the rules like everyone else….no, they are not the exception. And that choosing the ideal will lead them to success in their lives….
In this business of life that you’ll devote yourself to for the next forty or fifty years, you’ll face of thousands of situations which demand your decision. The “in-between” stage of adolescence you’re now in is the time when you should learn to take on these responsibilities of adulthood, and to begin to find the answers to your problems for yourself.
As an adult you’ll make decisions about the kind of work you do in life, the person you marry, how you’ll educate your children, where you’ll live, how you’ll plan for your own and your family’s future, and thousands of other questions.
Obviously, you want to make these decisions successfully. By successfully, I don t mean that you’ll come up with the right answers all the time, but your batting average should be good enough to let you feel that you’re not a miserable flop.
Four principles to guide you.
You won’t be too far off the beam at any given time if you bear a few basic principles in mind. I stress these because, almost without fail, those having a hard time in some part of their lives—the poor student, the person who can’t make or keep friends, the man who can’t get a job, and others who can’t latch on to a successful way of living – all fail because they can’t or won’t accept four principles which apply to us all.
These principles may be difficult for you to accept – they are, for many people. But once you accept them and use them in your everyday affairs, you’ll find that you can do things easier than you’ve ever done them before.
On the other hand, if you won’t face these four fundamentals, you’ll continually do things the hard way—-experiencing difficulties in many areas of your life, unable to make the progress that others around you are achieving.
Some people fight these ideas I’m about to express. But they’re batting their heads against a stone wall. Because it’s not until they’re willing to accept them that they begin to make a success of their lives. Some sad souls never learn them. They go to their graves miserably wondering why they lacked what it takes to be happy. And blame everyone else but themselves.
You’re not greatly different from everybody else.
Of course, you have an individual soul and mind. No one in the world is quite like you, nor has anyone been quite like you since time began. You’re a distinct, unique individual.
But you’re more like other people than you are unlike them. Thank God for it! Otherwise man could never make progress. When you were born, the doctor could be confident in what he is doing: he knew that your birth would be like that of other babies. When you were first fed, your mother could give you food that would help your growth, because babies generally all need the same kind of nourishment.
When you become ill, the same medicines that cured other people are used to cure you.
The fact that you’re basically like others makes a teacher’s job easier. For instance: most seven-year-olds are ready to read. So forty children can march into a classroom and learn together. Imagine how fouled up schools would be if one learned to read at two, and another didn’t begin until he was twelve.
You’re also like others in the characteristics of your soul.
Example: We all have a conscience which tells us the difference between right and wrong. What a crazy world it would be if your conscience told you that it was okay to lie and steal, my conscience said it was okay to dishonor my parents, and another’s conscience said it was right to commit adultery!
But fortunately we’re alike: we all have the same instinctive knowledge of what God wants us to do.
Why is this point so important? Simply because we must understand that regulations for other people apply to ourselves as well. We can’t think that somehow, some way, conditions that apply to others don’t apply to us.
I’ve watched many young people move on to successful lives and others who’ve been failures. Some of the latter make a mess of everything—job, marriage, parenthood. Almost without exception, those who win success do so because they abide by the rules.
The failures, consciously or otherwise, can’t accept the fact that they must live by conditions that affect everybody else.
Let me explain. Three years ago, Jim and Ed were high school sophomores. Both were C students, doing just enough to get by. One day, they were given a guidance lecture.
They heard they had better get on the ball if they hoped to go to college because more and more youngsters were trying to get in. They also were told that the man without a college degree now was finding more and more doors to careers closed to him.
The moral was plain. Jim decided that he’d better work his average up to where he’d be accepted by the college he had his eyes on.
Ed heard the same talk, but thought he’d be the exception – the C student who could land in any college he chose. He couldn’t or wouldn’t accept the fact that he wasn’t something very special.
Jim’s now in college. Ed isn’t. His marks were so low he has no chance of gaining admission anywhere. Too late, he has discovered that the rules that apply to other people, also apply to him.
One Saturday night recently a speeding car with a drunken driver at the wheel became involved in an accident. Four people were killed. Everybody old enough to drive has read many times that a drinking driver takes a terrible gamble. Why, then, does the driver who drinks risk his life? Just because he believes that he’s the glorious exception to the rule.
Divorce courts also are packed with people who think they’re exceptions—the ones who can beat the odds. Here’s a woman who became an older man’s fourth wife. She knew that three others had failed to live happily with him, and that he must be difficult to get along with.
Here’s a man who married a beautiful girl without a brain in her head. He’d heard many times it takes more than sexual attraction to make marriage happy.
Over there is a woman married to a man still tied to his mother’s apron strings. She’d been warned that such a man was immature and a poor risk – that chances of making a successful adjustment with him would be mighty slim.
How much heartbreak all these people would have avoided had they set out in life determined to follow the rules which have been found to apply to virtually all human beings.
These rules are the voice of experiences. You wouldn’t jump off a tall building, walk in front of an oncoming railroad locomotive, or hold a loaded pistol to your head while you pulled the trigger. You’d know that such actions would kill you.
While most of us accept the fact that we’re physically like others, we like to think that we have different personalities, different qualities which somehow enable us to overcome obstacles which stand in the way of other people.
Any number of psychological tests have proved, however, that all people have the same basic needs.
It probably hurts us to admit that, under the skin, we’re not much different from other people—especially people we don’t like. We all like to consider ourselves as being one of a kind, with instincts, aspirations and abilities unmatched by any other human. It takes humility to admit that we’re like other people.
But once you accept that fact, you’ll make tremendous strides in your personal life. You’ll find your future lined with guideposts to help you reach your goals. You’ll find help in solving every problem you face.
You’ll be able to follow the best rules for your good health, to choose your vocation wisely, to avoid pitfalls which might cause you to make a bad marriage.
You’ll learn that most important requirement—how to get along with other people.
God’s love is personal and individual. Each of us has every right to say: “God loves me as he loves nobody else in the world!” God does not love two people in the same way because it is actually His love that creates our personality, a different personality for each. “There is a much greater difference between people’s souls than between their faces,” says St. Teresa of Avila. -Fr. Jacques Philippe
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