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Discipline Yourself, Or Someone Else Will

I recently had the opportunity to share a concept with some seven and eight year olds that rings particularly true in our society today.

Discipline yourself or someone else will.

I asked them what they think that means. They were really funny about it. Some said it means you give yourself the spanking when you do something wrong. The general consensus was that you somehow punish yourself in such situations rather than waiting for someone else—a parent, a teacher, or a policeman—to punish you. After having a good laugh together, we discussed the situation in which a person recognizes the choices lying before him, and instead of choosing the wrong action, he disciplines his mind to choose the right on an increasingly consistent basis. I think they came to an understanding that self-discipline contains the mental maturity to make the correct choice so that others don’t have to correct them later on, like the parent, teacher, or worse, government.

Our conversation centered mostly around a child’s behavior in a classroom or at home, but this has deeper societal ramifications. Much of what America is going through right now is a result of society neglecting a self-discipline, such as Napoleon Hill taught, and now paying the consequence of our actions, collectively. Most people point the finger at Washington, the state capitols, or at city hall. While our politicians surely carry some portion of the blame, they are really a mere reflection of a much larger problem. I see a major culprit in each living room throughout the country.  For generations now, society has been living a non-disciplined lifestyle, in the name of freedom that looks more like license than liberty. One stark lesson lying before us teaches that principles govern. We don’t need a tangible force, such as a mother or a teacher or a government, to help us discipline ourselves. When society fails to discipline itself, the laws of the universe combine to discipline that society. Much of our current struggles are a result of that societal lack of self-discipline.


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