‘Discipline is not  punishment’

Source: The Hitavada      Date: 25 Nov 2018 10:25:51


THE moment the speaker -- eminent educationist Mrs. Chanda Kundra -- raised the issue of discipline as part of character, at the Students’ Conclave 2018, every student delegate sat bolt upright -- What was she going to say now, everybody wondered. But then the speaker made a very important point: Discipline is not punishment; it is only a set of values with which there can be no compromise.

It is a very pertinent point, and very few can verbalise it in such a crisp manner. As an Army wife, as they say fondly, the speaker knew what discipline meant. And as an educationist of merit, she also understood what students felt about the subject. So, in crisp words, she answered all the anxieties young generation feels about the concept of discipline.

Very true -- discipline is not punishment. In fact, in other words, discipline is one virtue that can save anybody from rasping vagaries of a wayward life. Of course, for school and college students, the very word -- discipline -- may come across as something meant to restrict their thought and action without rhyme and reason. The speaker sought to dispel this very wrong notion, and did so quite effortlessly.

The Students’ Conclave also saw another wonderful moment. One teacher, obviously in charge of students’ delegation from a school, raised a very important and rather touchy issue. She said, in effect, that today’s youngsters were unnecessarily aggressive and were not interested in listening to what the family elders including parents wish to tell them as words of wisdom. Sitting erect in his wheelchair, Arjuna Awardee Rajinder Singh Rahelu said, the average of the delegates attending the meet was around 13 years.

“What is your parents’ age? I am sure it must be around 40 years. So, who knows better what is good in life -- you a 13-year-old or a parent who is around 40 years old?”, he asked. He then advised the youngsters to shun unnecessary aggression against parents, their best well-wishers, and follow their words of wisdom. “I can tell you from my experience, no parent can ever think negatively about their children. My parents were ordinary village folks, but they always guided me well and that was why I could do so well in life despite my handicap”, he asserted. On both occasions, when Mrs. Kundra and Mr. Rajinder Singh Rahelu made their points, students clapped in joyous response.

The Students’ Conclave saw many such moments when the young delegates clapped and even gave standing ovation when something brilliant was presented. Their responses gave a very positive impression about our youngsters, particularly of school-going age. They are eager to learn and are serious about their lives ahead.

Of course, this impression cannot be omnibus as we see countless youngsters from schools and colleges conducting themselves in most irresponsible manner, giving their family elders sleepless nights. Most such youngsters do think that any effort of disciplining them amounts to punishment. The impression is certainly wrong, and the larger society will have to work hard to ensure that our youngsters understand the true value of discipline.