Dave Wallace: The downfall of discipline
“What people will do in given circumstances depends enormously upon their habits; and good habits are not acquired without discipline”
At the end of the chalkboard hung an oak slat which was about three inches wide and 20 inches in length. One end was tapered down and shaped into a hand grip with a number of holes drilled in the opposite end. Many classrooms had these slats hanging in them, many of them customized and personalized with the teacher’s initials carved into them. This device made a distinct whistling sound as it cut through the air; it then delivered a tremendous stinging sensation when it found its mark. This was only one form of schoolroom discipline practiced in our public schools 50 years ago. Was it necessary? I am not sure, though I can attest to its effectiveness.
Strict discipline in the home has been pushed aside, and a much more permissive approach has taken its place. Public schools have followed suit, with expulsion being practically the only form of discipline available these days.
Times have changed, and the breakdown of traditional discipline has become apparent. Community crime has increased to the point where law enforcement agencies cannot keep up. Most law enforcement agencies today operate in a reactive, rather than proactive, environment. Traffic violations occur on a regular basis, where exceeding the speed limit and running stop signs is considered breaking the law only if you get caught. In many schools, the teachers are subjected daily to threats, disobedience and verbal abuse. Dress codes and manner standards have declined and in many cases are nonexistent.
Discipline has not necessary fallen from society; it has been driven out. Most states have passed laws against child abuse, with a fine line between what is considered a spanking and questionable abuse, forcing many parents to shy away from discipline for fear of abusive accusations. Childhood discipline, which is the training of an individual to follow rules, is necessary to produce respectable and successful adults, whereas discipline in society, which is the practice of following and abiding by established rules, is necessary to maintain order. The breakdown of discipline in the home and school has become influential on the downfall of discipline within society. All households and schools should have rules and standards in place, including respect for others, and there should be consequences if these are not met. Discipline does not need to be physical; there are many forms, and never should any means of discipline elevate to the level of child abuse.
Large, publicly traded companies have strict safety standards and operating policies, these are necessary to minimize accidents and meet production goals. Workplace discipline is necessary to achieve a successful company, while promoting an attractive investment opportunity, though maintaining workplace discipline has become a challenge with the younger workforce. On the other hand, many communities have become more lenient in the enforcement of local laws and ordinances, fearing a reputation of being a strict community and possibly driving visitors away. Community leaders may want to consider some of the best practices successful companies have in place; they may be very beneficial in the communities success.
It has become obvious the lack of discipline over the years has contributed to a tremendous increase of crime and violent behavior in today’s world. There must be a happy medium, and we must find it sooner rather than later, for the continued decline in discipline will ultimately lead to an order-less society; a society without discipline will ultimately end in a state of chaos.