Those who are masters of themselves have marvelous possibilities to dedicate themselves to the service of God and neighbor, and thus attain the greatest happiness and peace possible here on earth.
The years of adolescence offer new opportunities to instill the virtue of temperance. Adolescents have greater maturity, which facilitates the acquisition of virtue. Virtues require interiorizing habits of behavior and motives, freely deciding to do something good and carrying it out. Although young children can get used to doing good things, it is only when they reach a certain intellectual and emotional maturity that they can go deeper into the meaning of their own actions and evaluate their consequences.
It is important to explain to adolescents the reason for certain ways of acting that young people perhaps perceive as only matters of form, or for certain limits to their conduct that they might see as mere prohibitions. In the final analysis, we need to give them good reasons why it is worthwhile to be temperate. For example, in most cases it would not be convincing to speak about the need to be temperate (above all in the area of entertainment that gets in the way of study) in order to ensure success in one’s future career. Although this is a legitimate reason, it focuses on a distant reality that isn’t of immediate interest for many young people.