Freeman Cebu Lifestyle


TACKED THOUGHTS - Nancy Toledo - The Freeman

If you've ever eaten dried pakwan (watermelon) seeds, you would know that once you start it's very hard to stop. The ones that I especially like are the salted. So if I sit down with a bag of pakwan seeds, it takes me such a great effort to actually stop, which I do only when my lips have turned a shade purple from the salt. It's only when I look at the seed peelings on my plate that I realize just how much I have actually consumed.

Eating the dried watermelon seeds is a lot like picking up a bad habit. We start out thinking, "It's such a small piece anyway what does it really matter?" and  the next thing we know it's left its mark on us.  Bad habits like gossiping, lying, being late or texting in front of company have a way of sneaking up on us. We always think: "It's just this one time anyway. I'm not really hurting anybody this one time, right?" But when we look at our life we see that sometimes these little habits are eating away into our relationships, into our integrity and honor.

As we begin Lent this year, instead of worrying about the large crimes like fraud or adultery or murder that normal people don't really think of doing, maybe we can think about all the little habits that we often overlook.  If you're Catholic or Christian, Lent is the perfect time to reflect and make concrete resolutions to minimize, if not totally do away with, bad habits. And if you aren't Christian or Catholic, this first quarter of the year is still a great time to look back on how far you've come from working on your New Year's resolutions.

We all need some period of purification - whether it is spiritual or not. Everyone needs time to look back and improve himself. And yet, stopping the negative habits is only one side of the coin. Picking up a good habit can also start small too. A kind word about someone can replace gossip about another. Telling the truth about something may keep us from lying about something else. And leaving a mere 10 minutes earlier than usual may keep us from being late.

Pakwan seeds seem small and inconsequential but you can't grow great, big, juicy watermelons without them. Likewise, our habits - good or bad - may seem small and inconsequential but we can't build character without them.

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