WoW! I haven't blogged in a while, used to do it all the time, not sure where even to begin. I have chosen the topic of DISCIPLINE as it's what I was thinking about, and also, as I am committing myself to writing this blog, discipline on my part is required to GET ER DONE!! (That's redneck cowgirl talk BTW ;) )
It seems the lines of discipline have become blurred over the years, with the rapid take over of technology as far as how children entertain themselves, parents seem to have found a way to minimize the level of discipline they need to give a child as it is easy to hand over an i pad to keep the child occupied. The technology side of it is not really my intended focus, however, what I have been thinking about more is the difference between discipline and punishment and how anger can get very caught up in the definition of these when it's actually a very dangerous place for anger to reside. I wonder if the difference between discipline and punishment could be that discipline seeks a result by instilling love, and punishment seeks a result by instilling fear. I suppose it would be more accurate to say that it does not necessarily need to be that they fall into these two categories, but that they have the potential to.
I have learned a lot about discipline by working with animals, mainly horses. It is possible to teach a horse using methods of instilling fear through punishment in order to discipline. Animals are especially sensitive to our emotional states so anger can be a powerful tool here. But who wants an animal to do what they're asking it to do because it's afraid? I have discovered that implementing discipline can take the form of loving actions of guidance so that the animal actually wants to do what you're asking, it wants to please, it wants to love and be loved.
And so I have studied techniques for training which implement positive reinforcement in order to teach an animal to do what I want because the animal desires to do so as an active participant in our activity, and rewards are given rather than punishments. With this approach most focus needs to be placed on the positive so that rewards can be given accordingly as positive results escalate. Patience and attention is required when the animal does something other than what we have asked it to, because in that moment we need to correct that action, as many times as it takes, not angrily but calmly and lovingly, until the right action is taken and so the reward is given. I have discovered that dealing with animals this way has been the difference between having an animal that does what I want it to, and having a best friend as well as an animal that does what I want it to.
I think the same potential is available when disciplining children. Research could be done to know how to discipline children effectively so that we can follow through with those guidelines and teach it as a practise, rather than something that needs to be executed in the heat of the moment while emotions are running high. I think knowledge is the key; to study and know what works so that we have the tools to stay in a balanced and peaceful state of mind.
With so much spiritual propaganda these days I think it's easy for people to get confused in what is right and wrong, as we're being told to accept ourselves and forgive ourselves, which can be translated into thinking that we've been given a free ticket of entitlement to act however we want to with little concern for the results of our actions or how they're affecting others. To me accepting myself means acknowledging all parts of myself and bringing love to those places that are in darkness; forgiving myself means leaving the past behind and learning from my mistakes.
Imagine what the world could be if as adults we developed the strength and peace of mind to discipline our children this way; to create the next generation of people who have been raised to act in respect out of love rather than fear. Our cycle of abuse has exploded to encompass a world of war by trying to force others to do what we want them to do because they are afraid.
I think all of us could think of one area where we have a tendency to lose our temper because of the actions of another person, and make a point of focusing that energy towards giving rewards to actions in that area that are loving, by stopping when we feel angered and asking ourselves; "what would love do here?"
Peace starts within. In a world where we often feel pushed to take a stand and get our way and show our children how to do things, I think it's about time we learn to take that stand peacefully, with love and respect, opening the space for everybody to grow and learn.