Not to sound like a broken record, but once again I’m going to parallel life to Nate, our 19-month old boy, with TMG Philosophy! As a relatively new parent, I am learning so much about life and myself by raising our son! Especially when it comes to discipline.
Discipline gets a bad rap. It just does. You bring up discipline in a conversation and most people assume you are referencing punishment. When I talk about having discipline in my toddler son’s daily routine, people raise one eyebrow, look at me sympathetically and say, not ask, “Oh, he gets in trouble a lot does he.” Ummm…negative Ghostrider. In fact, discipline keeps him out of trouble and daily crisis for the most part. And me. The way I see it, discipline involves what could be seen as a consequence to a choice made. A cause and effect. I guess this is what most people would call punishment. Discipline also has rewards then. A positive outcome for a choice made. In a moment of no self-discipline, when I choose to take 10 times (instead of 3) to tell Nate to stop something that isn’t acceptable, I usually get a category 6 tantrum (his, not mine) and a resistant, boundary-testing boy for the rest of the day. When Nate chooses to throw his cars at his baby sister over and over, he knows he has to put the cars away. When he chooses to stop throwing after I ask him to, he gets to keep playing with them, and then usually moves onto something else fun.
In our home, we think discipline is a virtue that brings out the good and shows the strength within, no matter what age or who you are. We know it takes consistency and respect for physical, emotional and spiritual guidelines. We know that without these guidelines, we may survive in life, but we most definitely won’t thrive. And that just isn’t okay. Of course, this doesn’t mean our lives are all unicorns and rainbows all the time. It’s hard. It takes effort. It takes commitment. It means we have to discipline ourselves just as often as we do our son. There are failed attempts. Many. But in those moments of success, we have such contentment, and we learn and we grow. We grow as individuals, as partners, and as a family. We learn a little bit more about who we are and who we do (or do not) want to become. I think that makes discipline pretty cool.