At the tender age of six, more than my school books, I loved crayons, sketch pens, and erasers. My favourite were scented erasers in different shapes and sizes. Unfortunately I used to always have the boring Camlin white erasers; because mom felt they erased better, without tearing pages.
One day to my utter delight, I found a big scented teddy bear eraser lying on the classroom floor. Happily I picked up and pocketed it. Back home, I proudly displayed it on my study table. When my Father inquired, from where I got it, I proudly told him the details.
His brow furrowed. I sensed I’d done something wrong. He picked me and made me sit on his lap.
In a gentle but stern voice he explained, “Beta, what you did today was wrong. You can’t take something that does not belong to you.” I replied, “Sorry, Papa. I liked it so I took it.”
His next words were devastating. “Promise me, tomorrow morning you will keep the eraser on the teacher’s table. She’ll return it to the student to whom it belongs.”
Next morning, mustering all my courage, I kept my promise.
That was my first lesson on honesty. In a few words, my father taught me to keep a promise and, not to keep something that doesn’t belong to me. Thinking back I realise, he taught me a lesson on parenting too. He didn’t bribe me to be honest. The scent of this lesson never erased from my memory.
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