First of all, what do we mean by “discipline”? I would say that discipline means “controlling behavior”. Why would one want to “control behavior”? The reasons are obvious. We live in this world with many other people, each one unique and different. In order to live together harmoniously, we must have some sort of rules and regulations. Without these, we would differ so much that there would be chaos and we would not be able to live together.
However, too much discipline can become inhibitive to the point that our creative energy has no outlet. This can cause more problems than preventing them. Let us look at some examples to illustrate the controlling and inhibitive aspects of the discipline.
In school, there are school rules designed for the smooth running of the school. We have to come to school at a fixed time and all lessons and activities are carried out according to a schedule. This is necessary. If we do not follow a schedule, there will be too much time wasted in finding out what is going on at which place and at what time. In short, the school will be worse than the market-place. The more aggressive ones will dominate and school will become more of a joke and less of a place of learning.
In the classroom itself, the students must be disciplined to the point they do not disrupt the lessons. They will have to learn to sit quietly and respectfully while the teacher explains a lesson. If the students are allowed to do as they please, the teacher not only loses control of the class, he also loses the respect of his students. After that, no effective lesson can be carried out.
It cannot be denied that discipline is of utmost importance in school. Unfortunately, discipline enforced blindly often does more harm than good. For example, I know that we have to keep quiet during an assembly so that we can hear what is being said. But to be told to remain silent when we are marching back to class after assembly0s just too much. It is ridiculous trying to keep our mouths shut when our feet are making more noise. Furthermore, the prefects are not loved for enforcing such a stupid rule. We do not blame them for shouting at us to keep quiet. We only blame the absurdity of such a rule.
Another example is that of our uniform. White shoes are compulsory, but what harm does a stripe of red and blue on the side of the shoe do. I have seen shoes being confiscated for exhibiting these “offensive” stripes. To me, the stripes actually make the shoes more attractive. To the school authorities, the stripes seem to cause them immense pain. They are being neurotic. This confiscation of shoes is an abuse of power, of discipline gone mad. No wonder there are some of us who despise school.
At home, I would say that most of the rules and regulations., albeit unwritten, are fair and. easy to follow. I am thankful for having such understanding parents. They are stern when it needs to be so and likewise liberal when the situation allows it. Once in a while, we may be disciplined, at most a scolding, for doing something wrong. This disciplinary action is rare, and it is always followed by a clear explanation as to why that something is wrong. Not only does it make me realize my mistake but also it makes me wiser.
By far, the most important disciplinary factor at home is love. Love and care shown by members of the family for one another discard the need for other forms of discipline. Love and care also bring the family together, reducing all types of disharmony to the minimum. A family devoid of love is doomed to break up, sooner or later. No amount of disciplinary action can prevent it.
It would be nice if the school practices some genuine bye and care. l am not saying that there is none. We could do with more. However, it is not so easy because the school contains so many people with equally many different attitudes. and beliefs. I do not dare to think that their ideas of love and care are the same as mine, thus the difficulty. Someday, maybe, we would reach some kind of mutual understanding on this matter. Till then we will have to make do with our present rules and regulations. How undesirable they. maybe sometimes, they still do their tasks.