Skip to main content
DISCIPLINE IN THE CHILDREN'S HOUSE 385
is being produced by some mysterious inward impulse out of dis-
order, showing itself in a perfect external act which, however, as
it lies outside the field of consciousness, the individual cannot
reproduce at will. In a second period, of a conscious character
now, there appears the influence of the will which can assist in the
process of the growth and of the fixation of actions. In the third
period the will is able to direct and instigate the acts themselves,
responding also to external commands.
Now obedience follows a parallel course. In the first period,
that of internal disorder, the child does not obey, as if he were
mentally deaf, impervious to commands. In the second period,
he would like to obey, seems to understand an order and be willing
to comply with it, but he cannot, or at least he does not, always
succeed in obeying because he is not ready, does not show any
pleasure in obeying. In the third period, he responds at once and
joyfully; and, as he perfects himself in the exercise, there is born
in the child the delight of being able to obey.
This last is the period in which he hastens with eager pleasure
to leave whatever he is doing at the slightest command.
From the order thus established in the conscience, where before
there had been chaos, there emanates the whole picture of the
events associated with discipline and intellectual development,
which expands from within outwards like a creation. In such
orderly minds, in which light has been separated from darkness*
there are born unexpected sentiments and intellectual victories.
Already there are perceived the first flowers of kindliness, of love,
of the sincere desire for goodness, which send forth their perfume
from the hearts of these children, and which give promise of
St. Paul's ' fruits of spiritual life'—" Love, joy, peace, >long-
suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness."