Name one thing you can do today – for your self or your children that can predict the future. No? Okay, how about you name one thing that will make you happier tomorrow or a week from today?
The answer might surprise you – it’s discipline.
Discipline can help you predict the future happiness of your children as well as your self.
Whoever wrote discipline is freedom was definitely on to something.
I have written in the past about the necessity of a time budget and how to begin one. There are various articles online about how to do the same with money, but curiously not many talk about how these restrictions and rules instead of making us feel constrained and miserable as we think they will, actually make us happier. (Clearly, I have to write one.)
Remember when our family was flirting with the idea of unlimited screen time not too long ago? Yeah, well.
Let me put it this way. It didn’t work.
While I still am fairly liberal with our use of technology for school, I have come to the conclusion that I do have to limit its use in the morning to create a distraction-free environment in which the children learn.
In big ways and small, I have come to realize that Charlotte Mason was right. The habits of the child do produce the character of the man.
“Every day, every hour, the parents are either passively or actively forming those habits in their children upon which, more than upon anything else, future character and conduct depend.” – Charlotte Mason.
It’s a sobering, sobering thought.
Not Just For the Kids
Parents sometimes tend to make the mistake of thinking that discipline is only for the children. And as such, if they haven’t cultivated it in themselves (or have had a hard time doing so) they assume they will never be able to teach it to the children.
However, if you’re even remotely introspective, the very act of teaching it to the children will make you start to apply it yourself.
And if you think discipline is about being miserable all day, read this.
Discipline Can Predict Future Happiness
I had wrongly assumed that having a routine that we stuck with no matter what and having definite boundaries that even I wouldn’t cross (for example, no snacking until two hours after a meal, no more than one soda a day, no screens until 2 pm) were arbitrary rules we didn’t need, but I was wrong.
Just like a money budget gives you the freedom to spend on the things you have planned for, and a time budget helps you get through the day feeling accomplished but not constantly rushed, discipline predicts the amount of satisfaction you will experience with your given task.
Without a plan, it is easy to get sidetracked, feel hurried or worse, waste time on trivialities. Learn to cultivate discipline, add some necessary, clear-cut guidelines and bring lasting freedom to your homeschool days.