Last night I had the pleasure of going through a handout from school about the sexual reproduction organs and how they work with my 11-year-old son. And I have to be honest, I had known I had to accomplish this task but wasn’t necessarily looking forward to it! But, the awesome teaching moment that unfolded was a very special and poignant opportunity in which we were able to discuss parts of the body, how they work, God’s intentions for procreation, and a discussion on chastity and discipline.
As we discussed male reproductive tract, the parts, the functions, and the maturation of a young boy into a young man, the discussion was really centered around God’s creations as a man and a woman and his plans for reproduction. And in the process of the discussion, within my own mind, I was reminded of the word called discipline and the fact that successful adults devise a plan and stick to it, while children do what feels good. And even as adults and successful adults, we may do what feels good, but it is often in those moments of self-indulgence that those actions or behaviors don’t align with our work, life, marital, physical, or spiritual goals.
I finished the discussion with my “rope analogy” I learned from Dave Ramsey. And as we raise kids, we have a rope tied around their waste, and as they make good decisions, develop good habits, and their daily actions create more trust, we lengthen the rope. We give them more slack in the rope to make more difficult decisions. Such as when they may be in grade school, we allow them to pick something to eat, and if they pick candy, we then take back their opportunity to pick what they want to eat, until they pick a healthier option. Or as they get older and want to drive, we may allow them to drive an ATV or even a vehicle, and if they drive it sanely. We may allow them to drive it more, but if they drive it like I did at that age, they get those privileges revoked, meaning we draw the slack out of the rope and pull them back in. We do this all the way through going out with their friends to dating, to taking trips, etc. The more they do right, even if it was hard to, the more “slack in the rope” we give them, or the more difficult decisions we give them to make. Because, it all ends when they “leave the nest” as we can no longer hold on to the rope of life of our kids and reel them back in when they “skid their knees” with a bad decision, or give them our valuable help when they need our valuable help after a failure.
You see, after we all left the home of parent discipline, life and real world became the disciplinarian and that function of discipline is always much more harsh than parental discipline. Life discipline often cost you severe amounts of money, or a dear friend, or an unwanted relationship, or jail time, or loss of a job, or bankruptcy. You may be wandering how this had to do anything with me teaching my son about his male reproductive sexual organs (although as a veterinarian and him being around animals, he understood quite a bit already!), but it has everything to do with discipline. Sex and discipline are two often confused words and acts. And it’s not just sex, it’s all about we as adults and leaders must be successful at devising a plan and stick to it, and not just what feels good at that moment. Sex feels good at that moment but is it right. Staying up too late on the internet may stimulate our brain but is it what is right for success the next day. Drinking one more beer that night might feel good but is it right for success the next day. Sleeping an extra 15 minutes or an hour may feed good but is it right for success the next day. Seeking revenge may feel good in that moment but is it right for success and relationships the next day.
You also see, as leaders, we must help create a life of discipline for those under our care, for those in our family, for those we lead. And we must help them all understand life is about self-control, discipline, and boundaries. And if you are like me, you have plenty of examples of poor self-discipline to discuss and illustrate. Young and immature people, like our kids may feel we are trying to control them, but it’s not about control. What it is about, is our deep and abiding love for our people and their success at work and at home. What great leaders want for their people if for them to have the best contagious moral behavior, and a disciplined self-control to succeed at work and at home. It takes habitual discipline to succeed and to live life well. Work life and real life isn’t’ always fun, doesn’t always feel good, or isn’t always fun. It may even be painful short term, but we want long term to feel so good.
The pain of discipline is far less than the pain of regret. Disciplined people, disciplined thought, and disciplined action create revolutionary success!