"He that spareth his rod hateth his son : but he that loveth him chasteneth him betimes." KJV Proverb 13:24
"He that hath no rule over his own spirit is like a city that is broken down, and without walls." KJV Proverb 25:28
"He that is slow to anger is better than the mighty; and he that ruleth his spirit than he that taketh a city." KJV Proverbs 16:32
Discipline is hard to administer. It is hard to administer to your children. It is hard to administer to yourself. Discipline is hard. I don't think anyone would dispute these statements. So the question becomes....is discipline worth the effort?
In the above verses, discipline is defined in terms of victory and love, while a lack of discipline is defined in terms of devastation and hate. Is victory better than devastation? Is love better than hate? Then discipline is worthy of our efforts, and the lack thereof worthy of our contempt.
We find it to be so in the natural world. In athletics, business, and scholarly pursuits, those most admired are often those who exercise the greatest self-control. Coaches who demand excellence from their players and chastise them for anything else are most often well respected. Well behaved children are favorably commented on with wonder and praise. And the opposites of these examples are also true. Couch potatoes, bums, and dropouts are greatly ridiculed by society. Coaches whose players run all over them rarely hang on to their jobs. And everyone cringes to spend time around unruly children. So to a great degree, even nature acknowledges the benefits of discipline.
But there is something strange happening in our society. It seems like many think they can somehow evolve above the need for discipline. They seem to think that pursuing every desire and whim will result is great achievement and happiness. People who practice self deprivation are considered to be gluttons for punishment. Children are coddled and babied all of their young lives, and then society wonders why they don't become productive adults. It is as if our society, in trying to be enlightened, is leaving what works for something that is broken.
As we head into the holiday season of Thanksgiving, and continue into Christmas, I would like to focus on discipline....of self, of children, of emotions. This is a time of year when it seems as if all discipline is thrown out the window, and we revel in fulfilling every want of ourselves and others. I am as bad as anyone when it comes to overindulgence, especially during the holiday seasons. So, I am going to close out this year of Proverbs resolutions by focusing on being disciplined. Why don't you join me, and let's see together how much better it is to walk the narrow way. We will meet few on our journey, and the way promises to be hard, but I can't wait to see what is at the end of this road. Victory and love seem like a perfect way to end the year.