Did I get your attention with that title? Well, this isn't about parents and children.
I've been thinking about discipline in regards to myself. Why do things work sometimes and not others? What is it in my attitude that helps determine accomplishment or failure? Why is it that one day I can give the kitchen a good cleaning, do the laundry, make the beds, homeschool the children, and cook the meals, while the next day I don't "feel" like doing anything?
I need rhythm and routine. Without I fall into laziness. There, I said it. I can be lazy. Oh, I make up for it by being incredibly productive for a few hours or days at a time, or during a week here and there where I go through the house top to bottom and declutter and organize everything in sight. However, there is no balance in working like this. I feel fantastic on days when I have worked like mad, but tired too. On days I don't think I have done enough I have a nagging sense of guilt.
Rhythm and routine help me find balance, as long as I stick more to rhythm and less to a schedule. When we stop following the rhythm the bathrooms don't get wiped down. If I try to do them everyday I just don't have time for other chores, and I get stressed. I think if I wiped down the bathrooms 2-3 times during the week, the rhythm would work.
Bathrooms are just one example. If I know that every day after quiet time we are going to have a snack, then practice time, and then do a craft/project, then my afternoon is well planned. But this is where discipline comes in. If the boys don't want to practice, do I let them off easy or just sing and get it going? Because I know if they skip it the rhythm will fall apart and I'll spend all afternoon on the computer, and maybe dinner will get my full attention, but maybe I'll just throw something together. How does dinner figure in? When we are doing projects in the afternoon some of them are self-guided, so I stand and chop vegetables and do early dinner prep while the boys do whatever project they are doing.
After that I should have free time for the computer. After practice, and projects, and dinner prep. Discipline. The computer itself isn't an addiction; I thought at some point maybe that word could be used, but I can go away for weeks on vacation and not miss the computer at all. I can just as easily lose myself to reading a book or crocheting, or any number of alternate activities. It is discipline. It is teaching myself that there are things I need to do before I can take that break - after all, my home and my children are supposed to be my vocation, and the other things my leisure. How easy it is to let my leisure fill up my work time, and to do homekeeping during my breaks!
There are things we know we should do. Discipline determines whether or not we do them. Eating right, exercising, getting enough sleep...they aren't hard things to do. I would wager that most of the time, if we have determined the heart of the matter in our lives there is plenty of time to do what needs to be done. When I say I didn't have time to mop the floor, I'm really saying that I chose to read my new magazine. Some days discipline requires that I set down the magazine and mop the floor. And isn't the magazine that much more satisfying to read if my work is accomplished and I am taking a well-earned break? I can give it my full attention, without the underlying knowledge that I "should" be doing something else.
Discipline. It's been sorely lacking in my life.