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My grandmother was a school teacher with interest in music and arts. They were a great couple who played hosts to perfection. While my grandparents showered unconditional love upon me and made me feel at ease, they were politely assertive when needed to be. Both being academics, they emphasized the importance of discipline to me and other grandchildren. At the same time, they were not doctrinaire or rigid in their conception of discipline. They were both open to dialogue and sensible to reason. This way, they always appeared to be on our side even when denying us an extra hour of television or an extra scoop of ice cream.
My most enduring childhood memory is an event that occurred during one such visit to the grandparents’. One of the favorite pastimes for me and other grandchildren is visiting the local public library which also has an attached park and playground. The library had a children’s corner filled with comics and adventure story books. Archies, Hardy Boys, Tintin, etc were the staple of our entertainment. During one such regular visit to the library, I so coveted an edition of Tintin that after reading it, I hid it beneath my shirt. I was barely 7 years old, and though feeling a little guilty, I couldn’t stop myself from acting disgracefully. Sure enough, the librarian found out what I had done and was kind enough not to punishing me then and there. She instead asked to meet my parents/guardian. When my grandfather returned home from meeting the librarian, his behavior toward me was initially one of dignified silence and stern indignation. But he relaxed soon and thought of a novel response to the situation.
Looking back in retrospect I realize how masterfully he handled the situation. I was too young to be fully cognizant of the implications of my misdemeanor. At the same time, I had to be taught right from wrong and made to behave more responsibly. So what my grandfather did was to bring a
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