The word “discipline” has suffered negative connotations over the last several years, especially in educational circles. When they hear the word, many immediately think of punishment, yet nothing could be farther from the truth. Webster’s Dictionary defines discipline as both a noun and a verb. As a noun, it is “training to act in accordance with rules; drill.” As a verb, it is “to train by instruction and exercise; drill.” Either definition suffices, as discipline is not punishment; instead, it is training and order. I recently polled those adults I interact with daily about discipline. I asked them to play a word association game with me. I would say a word, and they would say the first word that came to mind. When I said the word “discipline,” of the twenty people I polled, fifteen responded with words associated with punishment; the other five gave the following answers: “trouble,” “time out,” and “pushups.” Discipline is none of these things, especially in the field of education.
Discipline and Education
Today’s discipline is rooted in appeasement or ultimatums, and not in order and training. The term is tarnished and in need of rescuing, especially in the field of education. To be disciplined is to be a person of character; most successful people are marked by discipline. As long as discipline is misunderstood, education will suffer. Why? First, it is a major ingredient in excellence. True success is marked by discipline. Second, I believe that students are created with the need to be disciplined in love and that they thrive in disciplined environments. Most students and parents today believe discipline is punishment, and sadly, so do most educators.