Discipline is one of the most confusing words in the English language because, while a very important word, it has two almost opposite, and therefore confusing, uses - punishment and training. But, in any case, the normal connotation is one of bad not good, dread not delight - even if the ultimate objective (to properly train) is good, the process of discipline, to get there, is considered agony. It is too often considered a 4-letter, dirty, word synonymous with pain (and certainly, most people feel, something to grow out of as we age). Properly and maturely view, however, discipline is not punishment - rather it is what keeps us from being punished! Discipline is the tool of self-control - without discipline we will not achieve the focus of effort necessary for any meaningful accomplishment.
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Tom Harrison is the Deputy Director in charge of development projects at the Jubilee Centre for Character and Virtues at the University of Birmingham. He specialises in research and development programmes relating to character and citizenship education.
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