The education ordinarily given to the youth is a second self-love that we breathe into them.
—La Rochefoucauld, Maxim 261
Be careful how you praise the youth. Praise their way, and they will continue in it. Praise their nature, and will they not rest from all good work? A good child has nothing to do to be good if nothing can be done about nature. But it is not so: one’s way may overcome nature*—and it would do so even if one’s way were idleness.
* Cf. Pascal, Pensées §92: “custom is a second nature that destroys the first”; and Montaigne, Essais III.10: “custom is a second nature, and no less powerful”; and Aristotle, Nicomachean Ethics 1152a32-33, quoting Evenus: “long-lived habit becomes, in the end, a human’s nature.”