Obedience or Discipline?

A Authority and Power entry published on August 10, 2009

Very often, the word discipline is not correctly used.
In some dictionaries, the most general sense of the word discipline refers to systematic instruction given to a disciple; “to discipline” meaning, thus, to instruct a person to follow a particular code of conduct, an order.
Hence, usually, the phrase ‘to discipline’ carries a negative connotation.

This suggests that discipline implies obedience, submission to power. But this is not true.
In fact, obedience and discipline are the opposite.

The word discipline comes from disciple.
And, from ancient times, the disciple is someone who decides freely to follow the master.
He is not asked to. He decides to.

He chooses to follow the master because he thinks that master enables his growth.
In other words, he decides to become a disciple because he recognizes the master as an Authority.

Hence, becoming someone’s disciple has nothing to do with obedience.
The disciple is not submitted to anyone’s power.

A pupil who is obedient is frequently called a disciplined pupil.
This is nonsense. If he’s disciplined, he doesn’t need to be obedient.

When a teacher demands obedience from his pupils, it means he is not respected by them.
They don’t see him as an authority.
It may be because his classes are boring;
Or because he just wants to deliver the subject and does not care if the students like it or if they understand it;
Or even because they don’t understand the purpose of learning that matter and the teacher doesn’t care to explain them the purpose correctly.

These pupils do not feel motivated by the way their teacher teaches the class.
They don’t see themselves as disciples of that master.
Hence, they can’t get disciplined.

Should they see him as an authority, and he would not need to demand obedience. They would naturally align.

This teacher should take his pupils’ indiscipline as a sign to change something in his behaviour.
But that does not happen, the teacher often preferring power, obedience and punishment to the motivation or the personal fulfilment of his students.

A father and a mother who often demand obedience from their children at home only need to do it because they are not considered as an authority by their children.
By using power, obedience and punishment frequently, misunderstandings, fights and sometimes conflicts occur.

At home and at school some rules and some decisions are necessary, that’s true.
When you take a decision, you are naturally using power. And that’s alright. It’s a legitimate power.

It’s only natural to use power every now and then.
It is not natural to use power and thus obedience and punishment constantly.

The more frequently you demand obedience, the more your authority diminishes.

The human being responds naturally to creativity, to respect and to authority. These are inner qualities.
Yet, he hates obedience and punishment.

Our society of ego does not understand this. And, of course, the youngsters struggle to adapt to this adults hard and not very human world.

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