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POINTERS ON THE WAY
Franklin S. Du Bois, MD.
From time immemorial discipline has been recognised as an essential ingredient of man's life. Experience has demonstrated that objectives can be achieved and individuals can be happy only if human energies are directed in an orderly fashion. Since a person's desires often conflict with the desires of others, society has set up regulations for the common good, to which each member of the group must adhere or suffer a penalty. Fortunate is the individual who can so govern expression of his instinctive drives as to experience the least conflict in adaptation. Attainment of such adequate self-direction leads to the inner security the preservation of mental health and the integrity of personality necessary for wise decisions and ethical conduct. The well-disciplined person is guided by certain principles in which he believes, and he follows those principles because he has been taught by example, by training, and by experience, that intelligent action based on practical ideals brings satisfaction to him and to others.
To arrive at helpful conclusions, one must first have an understanding of what is meant by discipline. The immediate and restrictive connotation is apt to be what is done to an individual when he is disturbing to others, but we shall deal with the broader concept that discipline is a process of training and learning that fosters growth and development. Its derivation is the same as that of disciple: "one who learns or voluntarily follows a leader" (Webster). Discipline is, therefore , primarily the process of "making a discipline Parents' attempt to help their children become disciples of a way of life that leads to usefulness and happiness. They teach by precept and example. and their children learn by imitation and practice: consequently, techniques of discipline are less significant than the spirit of the relationship between parents and children. And in this relationship it is the warmpth and genuine affection of both the father and the mother that is most important because, as Rose has said. "learned parenthood" is ineffective as contrasted with spontaneous feeling states of parents that make children feel wanted and secure in their efforts to develop independence.
While discipline may carry with it an idea of punishment, this should be only the discomfort that logically follows the pursuance of a selected course of action and is voluntarily accepted as incidental to the attainment of a desired goal.
One speaks of the discipline of medicine, of art, of athletic training, when one refers to hardships foreseen and endured in an undertaking that leads to the chosen objective. Like the athlete, the child in training must learn to accept the restriction of many of his impulses. Discipline, in essence, means adherence to the rules of life; not a hardship to be endured intolerantly, but an educational opportunity to be welcomed enthusiastically, since it is only through discipline that lasting satisfactions can be obtained
A child cannot be expected to see discipline in this light. but his parents must So view it. Parents must think in terms not only of the immediate behaviour at two, six, or sixteen years-even though mismanagement of reactions in childhood can lead to fundamental character disturbances -- but also of the ultimate results of discipline at twenty forty, and sixty, when parental control is no longer in force. Then the individual must be constructively self-directed or else suffer remorse because of violation of his personal code, or be punished by society when his conduct is contrary to its laws. Hence, one should think of discipline is the educational process by which parents lead the child to independent self-discipline and the inner security of the wholesome, well-integrated personality that is characteristic of the emotionally mature adult.
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