Monday, May 17, 2010

Self discipline and doing things we want to do.

The other day I got this question:
"Can you develop self-discipline when you unschool? I mean if you don't have to do things you don't want to do, how can you develop discipline?'

What the person meant was that schooling teaches you discipline because you have to do things you'd rather not. But if that were true, then why are there so many slackers in all areas of life?

And what is self discipline?

One definition is 'the ability to motivate self': the ability to do what is necessary or sensible without needing to be urged by somebody else. Having control of oneself, having will power. Note the 'without needing to be urged by someone.' The last time I checked, school is all about 'being urged' by someone to do something you don't necessarily want to do.

Ironically, in my experience, my kids and I learn self discipline by doing things we want to do.
How many people do the things they really want to do? How many folks say they want to write that novel, or become a world class chef, or complete that invention and get it out on the market, or paint those master pieces but don't have the time/money/energy to do these things?

Where is the self discipline to get the things they want to do, done?

It's discipline if you love something, want something and you strategically work at getting to that something. It's discipline to set a goal of completing your book -the book of your dreams, your baby and getting up extra early, or using your coffee break to write it.
The fact is, self discipline is more likely to take root and have more meaning when our kids set their own goals and when we model this sort of behaviour ourselves.
What do you think?


Child in Harmony said...

You are absolutely right. If it's something the child wants to do he/she will be motivated and find ways to do it.

Kids in school are *made* to do things they don't want to do and they learn very quickly life can be full of drudgery. Many parents believe kids still need this because they say life in the real world isn't all rosy and kids need to learn early on to do things they don't like.

But they don't! It actually turns kids the other way...of slacking off, being sneaky, manipulating, and hating learning!

Here's to choice and freedom and trust and unschooling!

happy day!

Anonymous said...

Most people need others to help disicipline them because humans are natrually lazy- we like to use as little of our brains as possible. It's not evenour fault-it has to do with biology and conservation of energy. So yeah- discipline works best when you force people who otherwise wouln't get off their butts.

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