the conscience of children is merciless

i am from the old school . love and discipline. physical punishment , not out of anger, but  as a physical reminder to the child not to  repeat reckless actions.   when i was 5,  my cousin and i loved to romp around in the kitchen.   boiling water  knocked off the stove.  my cousin was disfigured for life.  i forbid  my daughter to come near the stove . i explained the possible consequences . I put her hand on the hot plate, to feel the burning pain.  ”  you are a big girl now,  you can do many things by yourself,  before you do it,  think if it’s going to hurt you or any one else. do you understand why sometimes i punish you.  the pain is to remind you to think before you do something that can hurt much more.  do you understand?  ”  yes mama,  i understand”.

my daughter liked to draw pictures.  sometimes i found pictures where she described she did something bad and  wrote she deserved to be punished.  at bedtime,  i heard her conversing with herself.  visiting with her imaginary friend?  the visitor was her conscience.  one hand was slapping…  the other hand,  because of some wrongdoing,  nobody was aware of, but her conscience.  then happy she felt asleep.

the big philosophical question:  when and how does conscience come into being in a child ?  why  when and how does it get compromised so quickly ?  we the adults are responsible for  shaping the conscience of the child, for better and for worse. this ,  coy believes.

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