In a mature tree, a gash here or a torn branch there is of little or no consequence. But the smallest scratch in the seed, the slightest nick in the sapling, results in an irrevocable deformity-in a flaw which the decades to come will deepen rather than erase.

Hence the great care and vigilance required in the education of the young. The values imparted to the child must be impeccable, free of even the slightest and most "forgivable" blemish.