April Character Trait – Self DisciplineBy
Self Discipline – demonstrating positive patterns of behavior and having the strength of mental and moral courage to accomplish tasks, manage time, and relate effectively with others.
That’s our definition! What’s yours? For the perennial dieter, it might include the discipline to refuse that favorite food. What might it mean for the person dissatisfied with their job, but afraid to leave it in this challenging economic climate?
The writer William Hazlitt tells us “Those who can command themselves, command others.” Modeling self discipline can be a powerful tool in teaching students the importance of Self Discipline. Don’t hesitate to talk about the times when you may not have wanted to do what your job requires. Follow that discussion with the reasons it is important to do what we are supposed to do, and being accountable for accomplishing tasks given to us.
Self Discipline should receive significant emphasis in our work with young people. Completing assigned work on time, doing a chore even though we don’t want to, following directions when we think we have a better way are all situations students may encounter every day.
David Whitman writing about the achievement between white and minority students in inner city schools, discusses the “new paternalism.” In the schools examined for his Sweating the Small Stuff, when teachers took a more paternalistic stance with students, the academic improvements were remarkable. “These schools’ success points to the weakness of progressive education and the strength of traditional moral education.” Whitman encourages educators to join such enthusiasts as Hillary Clinton and John Edwards in praising paternalistic schools.
A strong element in achieving the gains shown in these paternalistic schools is the emphasis on self discipline. Students are exposed to rigorous course work, and expected to not only achieve, but to excel. Is there any reason every educator could not implement such a strategy?
The late Paul Harvey said “Self government won’t work without self discipline in America.” The ultimate purpose of education is molding good citizens for America. We must help students achieve that goal by our modeling self discipline, and by assisting students to make self discipline a habit for life.
The results cited above should encourage us to:
• Expect achievement from every student
• Hold every student accountable for tasks given to them
• Model self discipline in a variety of settings
• Discuss with students the benefits of practicing self discipline
• Encourage students to talk about self discipline with family
Remember – Following the path of least resistance is what makes people and rivers crooked!
Think Self Discipline!
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