How do we act when no one is watching us? How do we treat people, treat ourselves, when no one is there to judge us, other than God? I have come to wonder about this issue quite a bit, especially since becoming a Mom. The moral compass idea, and where we find it. I wonder about this especially today, in these messy times.
We talk a good deal in our house (the grown-ups) about "discipline", the idea of rewards and punishment, and how we feel about it. Don't get me wrong, there have been times when I have resorted to bribery, but I don't like it when I do. I work hard to follow the path of unconditional parenting, to have faith in the idea that given the chance most of us will choose do the right thing. Children, especially. Sometimes, I think, we as adults have just lost our ability to decipher what the right thing is, products of this extrinsically motivated society that we are. I, like most Moms, wonder all the time if I am parenting well. Should I "discipline" more, if I give my kids more stickers and time-outs will they grow into happy, kind, peace loving people? For more on this check out Nancy Carlsson Paige. Anyway, I saw something cool recently.
I was dropping off my oldest son at school, he began to settle in happily listening to a story with a friend. His friend's Mom then told him that she was going to be leaving, and the boy became upset. I saw Noah watching him, trying to better understand the situation. He then began to comfort the sad boy. I won't get too detailed here, but just leave it at the fact that he reached out to comfort this friend in need, and it made me proud. He did not know this, because he didn't even know I was watching. He didn't get a sticker or a piece of candy. He just did what he did because it was right, and good, and true. Henry didn't bring Noah tissues this afternoon because he earned a prize afterward, he did it because he is kind, saw his brother's need, and realized he could do something about it. Isn't this what we all hope for our children, for our future?
Maybe what this world needs is a little more sticker on the inside, ya' know what I mean?