Friday, August 19, 2011

Discipline - A way of Life

Padmini, my thirteen year old came home from school rather excited and said “Ma, we had to monitor the KG class today as the teachers were busy.  Oh! Ma how unruly and undisciplined they were” 

This set me thinking what discipline is and what the young girl thought of it. So I asked her “What made you think they are undisciplined?”

“Oh, they were not paying attention to what we said and were talking amongst themselves. One little boy even had the audacity in telling us that we are no teachers and only students like him” “What is discipline according to you?” I persisted

“Ma, you know everything. Discipline means remaining quiet without disturbing others or the class, listening to the teacher and doing what she bids us to do”

“Very good. It means following the rules of the school, isn’t it? The children may like to talk and play. But they should not when in the class. Discipline really means our ability to get ourselves to do things  like being quiet and attentive even when we don't want to. Do you understand?”
“Can you explain it in detail, ma?” she asked

I explained to her “There are two kinds of discipline. One is where it impinges on our relations with others in the family, school, office and society. The other one is our own personal discipline. Man is a social animal and is bound by the norms of society in which he lives starting from one’s own family, village, town and country. In the formative years the family teaches us the norms of family and society and as we reach adulthood we become part of the society living according to the rules formed. Discipline is not breaking the accepted rules and sometimes the conventions however inconvenient they are for our own personal good. It is like standing in the queue without jumping lines or crossing the road when the signal is right. Discipline is not coveting what does not belong to you even if they remain unprotected. It is performing what you had promised to deliver  or what you are expected to do in an acceptable manner be it in office or in any work undertaken. Discipline is being honest to one’s conscience. Discipline is sharing with others their legitimate share like not hogging TV all for one self or gobbling a larger share of food on the dining table without consideration for others. Discipline is being fair in all your dealings.”

“What is personal discipline, you spoke about?” she asked
“Yes, personal discipline is very essential for our own evolvement as individuals. It is the cultivation of discernment and right attitudes , it is a way of life.  In today’s world, most of us are enslaved by passion, luxury and greed and would go any end to achieve what we desire in a fair or foul manner. Discipline is being content with what one has by legitimate means, and includes a bit of self denial when others suffer from want. Personal discipline means being truthful under all circumstances, eschewing laziness, working hard on the job undertaken,being considerate to others and  controlling the tongue and the mind” I said

“No steam or gas ever drives anything until it is confined. No Niagara is ever turned into light and power until it is tunneled. No life ever grows until it is focused, dedicated, disciplined. This should be taught from young age by parents and teachers for all of us to become useful citizens of a prosperous country. We must remember that ‘What people will do in given circumstances depends enormously upon their habits and good habits are not acquired without discipline.’ Discipline, requires a great deal of self-control, it is not suppression of freedom, it enables us to be more judicious and move in the desired direction and ultimately achieve our goal.” I added

As Julie Andrews said  “Some people regard discipline as a chore. For me, it is a kind of order that sets me free to fly.


  1. Very nicely explained through conversation mode about discipline.Without discipline there is no order either in personal lives or in society.

  2. wow..what a definition..just loved the post..I think everyone should read it.
    I too think on similar lines.