I remember it like yesterday.
I was about 4 or 5 years old, and I went to a drug store with my mom. I don't mean an illegal drug dealer, I mean a place like CVS or Walgreens. This was in Florida and the name of the store was Eckerds Pharmacy. Well anyway, I remember we walked through the store for a while, looking for whatever it was that my mom wanted, and eventually ended up at the counter with who-knows-what in her hand.
All I know is that when I got to the counter, I saw a pack of grape Bubblicious gum, just staring me in the face and saying "you've gotta have me". So I did what most kids would, I asked my mom to buy it for me. Now, for whatever reason, she decided not to, and I was not very happy with that. So there I was stuck in a dilemma. Do I accept what she said, or do I just take it. Now this day was a rainy one and so I had on a rain coat and funny enough a bright yellow rain hat (just like the cute rain suit the kid in the picture has). And do you know what I did??? I simply lifted up the hat and stuck the pack of gum under the hat on my head and walked out with my mom as if nothing happened.
Later that day, when my mom went to the kitchen to cook, I took out my bubble gum and with all the joy in my heart, pealed back the wrapper and stuffed my mouth with not one but two pieces of grape Bubblicious. Oh yeah, I thought it was a little piece of heaven, until my mom walked in the room. When she walked in, I immediately stopped chewing, hoping to hide it from her. But little did I know she could smell it (that's the funny thing about kids, they think they are so smart and sometimes they are so obvious)! Now if you grew up in my time, then you know what comes next...
She screamed at the top of her lungs, "where did you get that"!!!!! Didn't I tell you no! You stole it! YOOOOUUU SSSTTTOOOLLLLEEE IIITTT!!!!!!!
Then next up came the belt. Well, first she made me spite it out, then she grabbed the belt and gave me the spanking of a lifetime. I couldn't sit on my butt for hours. And worst then that, she made me go back to the store and admit that I stole and give it back (as if they could re-sell it after it was opened). That day I learned that there are consequences to doing wrong. Even though I did it many other times after that, I knew there were consequences.
But the moral or this story is not just about consequences. There's a question to be answered. Who taught me to do that? Who told me to steal? NO ONE. It automatically came into my mind when I wanted something and couldn't have it. Isn't it funny, how we naturally learn to do bad, but it seems so hard to develop good habits? Isn't it funny how it's cool to talk about drugs, sex and fighting, but it's lame to talk about wanting to graduate or how exciting it was do complete your homework early or the desire to go to a church, or how you respect your parents so much? It seems that what is bad is born in us, but we have to nearly kill ourselves to develop good habits in us. This is a reality that we must face. We are much more attracted to what is not good for us, then we are to what is good for us.
So what we need to do is, stop acting on impulse and start thinking about whether what we are doing is good or not. And do what is right, even if it hurts. Because it is better to feel the pain that you inflict on yourself through making hard choices, then to feel the pain of discipline after you have done wrong.
Take it from me... my butt still burns when I think about that spanking