The times really are a changing

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That age-old ingredient known as discipline, which has been used in teaching important lessons about life, has been crumbling for many decades to a point where many children today expect to say and do what they please — and often take exception to being corrected even by a parent, guardian or teacher.

That presents a problem for society because without proper discipline during the early learning stages, the potential for antisocial conduct increases.

Many people believe the core of the changing behaviour problems, especially with so many young people, is the result of a weakened family structure where discipline that existed in previous generations as an anchor for strong values has faded, leaving openings for rebellious and unacceptable conduct. It is a sad reality for many countries around the world.

Although there are many families striving to cling to values such as discipline and respect, their task is made very challenging in a world where negative distractions are making it more difficult to keep a young mind from drifting off course. With Twitter, Facebook and other devices of communication, the struggle to keep good values out front is a daily test for all families.

Most of us are familiar with the effect of peer pressure on a young person who does not want to feel left out, while at the same time having second thoughts about basic values taught at home.

Young people today need to understand that without discipline, much of what we have in Bermuda today would not exist.

Every time the word “discipline” is mentioned, there are those who say we are living in different times, and children today are not like children of previous generations.

That may be so, but the basic rules of life never change when it comes to respect and civil order. Disregarding rules in life usually produces consequences.

When a traffic light turns red, it sends a signal for those approaching to stop. Motorists know what could happen if that signal is ignored. Many lives have been lost in large countries, where the number of people who attempt to defeat the light is greater. Rules are not made to annoy or anger people who prefer to operate by their own rules.

Rules in most cases are implemented to establish a system of order that enables fairness and safety for all.

School principals in most schools today, Bermuda included, face challenges in changing behaviour patterns, and in some instances parental support is not as good as it should be. There was a time when a child punished in school for violating a rule would never want the parent or guardian to find out. That in most situations would mean something more severe than what the school dished out. Sadly, that time has passed.

I often hear of stories of children in stores ordering their parents to buy this or that, and after raising their voices, parents usually submit in what they think is a move to keep the peace. What they could be doing is creating a problem when the same child confronts a situation where not having their way will lead to consequences. Discipline in the old days was something that crossed all sections of community life in Bermuda, and most Bermudians who were subjected to being corrected with a no-nonsense approach have attributed their success to understanding what an important part discipline plays in tackling the issues of life.

We may not be able to bring back the days when discipline and respect were priority values, but discipline will never be antiquated; unless, of course, our society is prepared to slide into the “anything goes” mode.

Our leaders can play a part by demonstrating by actions and words that it is always best to operate with dignity and the highest degree of respect for each other if the next generation is to have a solid guidepost for the future.

Bermuda will soon be facing a new year, with significant events scheduled to hopefully enhance business and community life. We need support from every sector in helping to make it a success story. It will mean approaching differences of opinion with an open mind and with the principal goal of putting Bermuda first.

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Published Dec 13, 2016 at 8:00 am (Updated Dec 13, 2016 at 7:10 am)

The times really are a changing

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