Crime and Punishment

April 4, 2013
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“Kids say and do the funniest things,” my father said to me one day from a telephone. Originally, I laughed at those judgemental words, but stopped suddenly when I remembered something a few years back in time. At age five, my brain wasn’t fully developed for right or wrong decision making. Probably a relatable problem for all in that distinct age group. I have hardly told a soul, because it does break one of the ten commandments. Besides offending God, people might look down at me as a criminal despite my age at the time. Stealing a shiny, single cigarette lighter stays as my deep dark secret. I don’t remember the incident details, just that it was stolen by me: shoved into my jacket pocket and transported home. This event has significantly affected myself in three ways: being a non-smoker, enduring punishment, and maturing.
First, I have stayed a non-smoker ever since that dark day. This is very impressive regarding all of the peer pressure plus TV commercials pointing menacing fingers at us teenagers becoming young adults. But I actually believe the lighter caused some induced trauma to my health lifestyle. Lighters have a small design which affect a hard to start procedure for my small, clumsy hands. Walking past bars nightly, I am very cautious of an environment filled with cigarette smell. Two preprogrammed actions are to cover my mouth and run. Increased resources for reasons not to smoke have helped me also in the long run. Choosing not to smoke may not seem important for a healthy lifestyle, but believe me, punishment is the upper hand any day. Punishment happens at the end of an incident and always sucks, no questions asked.
Severe punishment can always be found at my house. With the Goodhue County Sheriff as my dad, the picture is quite clear. Age stands as the only criteria for determining the punishment. I as without a doubt punished, even at a young age I took responsibility for my actions. I had to go back into Econo Foods and return the stolen merchandise to the manager and give my apologies. A big, scary job for a five year old boy. Punishment doesn’t even come close to the importance of maturing.
Maturity and growing walk hand in hand down the road of life. Two peas in a pod Dad might say. Growing up provides a slow and educational stairway to all things during the journey. Character building and personality changing for the better, as life’s clock ticks. No more changes are allowed when the final strike sounds loudly. Wow, what a fantastic ending from the unforgettable, significant event. From an outside perspective looking inward,I am kind of glad I stole that lighter. No, stealing doesn’t stand as a favorite hobby of mine rather learning from previous mistakes brings uppermost joy.
Once again becoming a non-smoker, enduring punishment, and maturing are three ways that past event have significantly affected me for the better. I hope others will learn from my experience not to steal. Remember, light up life for the better.

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