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Abraham Joshua Heschel

Jewish theologian and philosopher, widely read by Christians, author of God In Search of Man (1955), The Sabbath (1983), and other works


An act is not good because we feel obliged to do it; it is rather that we feel obliged to it because it is good.

1951 - from Man is Not Alone: A Philosophy of Religion
When I was growing up, the word 'discipline' was rarely heard. When it was, it was the older generations, my grandparents age, bemoaning the lack of discipline in my generation. As in 'these kids today, they have no discipline. Why, when I was young, we had to get up a five in the morning to do all the chores before walking twenty miles to school in the snow. Uphill. Both ways.' The implication was that our parents were spoiling us by a lack of discipline. You see, they had the idea that children, being naturally good, if given a sufficient degree of freedom, would evolve free of societies prejudices and become good people quite on their own. Well, we know now that this is not the way it works. Our grandparents were right. My generation, and the succeeding generation, now in high school and college, were harmed rather than helped by a lack of discipline. There is something essential about discipline that helps us through the tough parts of every life, and those of us who were raised with little of it had to learn our lessons the hard way.

1955 - from God In Search of Man