"My child, from youth choose discipline and when you have grey hair you will still find wisdom" - so says Jesus ben Sirach, Ecclesiasticus 618. I am sure that is true, but the trouble is that unless we have discipline forced upon us or we are unusually precocious we may be already so far advanced in selfish or wayward behaviour that even with loving and careful coaching it may be too late to amend our ways.
We are aware that little ones have little or no awareness of what belongs to their and our peace and so need much love and guidance to achieve this. As they grow older they should learn more about themselves and other people, and pass from the "anomous" stage, (pre-school, lacking discipline), through the "heteronomous" stage, (junior school, accepting the guide-lines laid down by others), to the "autonomous" stage, (self-regulating observance of law), in the development of conscience and sociability with others.
The failure of so many who live self-centred or wicked and evil lives requires that for the sake of all we must endeavour by love, education and encouragement to help them, lest by indiscipline they wreak havoc to others and grow up as anti-social members of society lacking peace, joy and love and denying them to others.
We know as Christians that God who is compassionate and forgiving helps us in dealing with these problems as well as with those who for reasons of innocent impotence fail to mature in Wisdom and Spirit and need His healing and our care.
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