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After spending half his life in and out of trouble in the Dorchester neighborhood of Boston, Massachusetts, Mark Wahlberg has rebranded himself as a God-fearing family man deeply devoted to his children. The father of four recently spoke to Esquire magazine about this turnaround and extolled some helpful advice when it comes to keeping your faith and raising children.

On the day he removed his final tattoo (a warning to his children to not get any), Wahlberg did something that he had never dreamed possible as a criminal and drug addict in the late ’80s and early ’90s — he got his degree. Chief among the many reasons to got his high-school diploma was the idea that, even if he has turned his life around, he would never be a good example to his kids without one.

“I can’t tell my kids to go to school and get an education if I don’t have a diploma,” he says. “They’d start thinking, ‘Why do we need to go? You didn’t go and you turned out all right.’ But I’m proud to have it. If I want to go on and further my education and study film or whatever, I can do that.” 

The writer of the issue, Mark Singer, notes Wahlberg still tries to go to mass every single day and, if he cannot find the time, he will always stop outside the church and say a prayer.

“Being a Catholic is the most important aspect of my life … The first thing I do when I start my day is, I get down on my hands and knees and give thanks to God. Whenever I go outside of my house, the first thing I do is stop at the church,” Wahlberg told the Catholic Herald in 2010.