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Discipline as enthusiasm: an entry into the recent discussion on the moral development of children

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This article is an edited version of a paper delivered at the annual meeting of the Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences in Albuquerque in Sante Fe, New Mexico, a number of years ago. Its premise is that kids grow up to be moral beings when their needs are met, and that this occurs not when kids are controlled through disciplinizing institutions and measures but when they are 'set on fire', if you will - when their instincts to engage the world in interesting ways are given full rein. When this happens external constraints are viewed as mere straw or worse because the sense of direction young people gain comes from within. Their discipline is based in an enthusiasm, in being fully on fire and full of 'God'. Although some of the references here may appear dated, the issues are not; the number of times people have asked for a copy of the paper behooves the editors to provide a more accessible forum for its ideas here.

Keywords: Robert Coles; children; discipline; discipline as punishment; moral development

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: Central Michigan University, USA 2: Independent Scholar, Melbourne, FL, USA 3: Independent Scholar, Voorheesville, NY, USA

Publication date: 2008-12-01

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