Oscar Wilde once said "When a man is old enough to do wrong he should be old enough to do right also." This all starts from a very young age -- and unfortunately generally I feel like you learn what is wrong by what you get in trouble for. As much as I might hate to admit it, my parents had (and probably still have at least somewhat) a huge influence on who I became, and potentially even who I am to become in the future.
When you're little, it's different. Your parents are superheros. They can do anything, beat anything, make the monsters go away or simply make your day. They make your lunch, choose your outfits, drive you to all of your extracurriculars (which, back then are simply called fun things that you like to do) host playdates, make friends with other parents so that you can hang with their kids. It's pretty incredible... and I know that sounds like a lot to say coming from me, Mr. I-can't-stand-living-at-home-with-my-parents.
But they really do teach us what's right and wrong. And while every parent has different ways of doing it, and every parent has their own set of ideals and morals, there are probably a good number that most everyone can agree on.
I remember how my parents used to function when we got in trouble. In some ways, we were really lucky. In fact, after what I say next, a lot of people will probably argue that I was in fact REALLY lucky. You see, my parents didn't believe in grounding the kids. I was never grounded, never really shut in the house or not allowed to go out and do something. They were strong believers that the punishment should fit the crime. They were a lot more strict when I was younger -- we had things like strict bedtimes, a mandatory check for permission to leave the table after we were done eating, prayers every night without fail, and the expectation of us owning up to our mistakes and taking the appropriate punishment. We even had time limits on how long we could play on the computer (they didn't let us get any sort of gaming system until we must have bugged them to death -- they bought us a Gameboy Advance and an SP and that was as far as that went.... the kids ended up buying a Playstation2 on their own).
But whatever we did, the punishment had to do with whatever we did wrong. I think we learned a lot better that way. And we probably were more motivated to stay on track, because we could pinpoint and associate how bad the punishment was if we were tempted to stray again.
Now, I was definitely not a perfect kid, but I feel like I was raised pretty well. I feel like Oscar Wilde missed one important part on this subject. Doing wrong and right is one thing. But doing it knowingly brings in a whole other variable. If you are conscious enough to know when you're doing something wrong and you do it anyways, then you should have the sense to not do it in the first place, and just do the right thing. There are a lot of things and decisions I wish I could change about the past. But the past is the past, and the only thing to do is to focus on how I'm going to portray myself in the future.