Sunday, April 06, 2008

Discipline

Culture is not something easily achieved. If left on their own, children will not be fit to carry it on and will suffer horrendously when it collapses. But how are we to make them fit to carry it on? Here we must never forget that children are a mix - a mix of nascent good and of nascent evil. The good must be nurtured, the evil extinguished.

Education today (at least public education in the U.S.) seems to foster only the former. Indeed the assumption seems to be that, if we but do the former well enough, all discipline problems will disappear. This is simply false, and until strict discipline is again introduced into the home and the school, education in the U.S. will continue its long slow decline. Teacher and parent and must be, above all else, instructors in virtue, and to do this they must compel students to act virtuously even when then do not wish to do so.

2 comments:

thechristiancynic said...

I agree, especially as regards education. I'm a teaching candidate currently, and I've seen teachers who couldn't control their classroom and one particular teacher who could. The latter was very focused on character building and imitating good values for her students, and she consistently achieved better results than her colleagues who, while being good instructors and well-liked, weren't necessarily great value-inculcators. (I also wrote quite a while back on the idea that teachers have as their primary goal the task of instilling values in their students.)

Anna said...

"Teacher and parent and must be, above all else, instructors in virtue, and to do this they must compel students to act virtuously even when then do not wish to do so."

While I agree with the first part of this statement, I have to wonder about the second part. Having teens I have realized that there comes a point where once children start to develop more of a sense of self-identity, they also start to recognize the intrinsic violation of human dignity and freedom that is inherent in an outside authority trying to force a person to do something against their will.

Children are imitators and if they have not had a good example to imitate when they are young, then to fix the problem as they get older they have to be given some reason to change and allowed to freely choose that change if any real fruit of virtue and not just externally controlled behavior do to fear of consequences is desired.

With a society that takes as its highest good personal satisfaction what motivation is there for children to develop good morals? Can any reverse in the decline happen apart from reaffirming a religious tradition that nurtures an honest love for God and love for fellow man, whereby children try to change their behavior not because it is some authority's idea of the 'right thing to do' but because they desire to be in right relationship with others and God?