Definition of DISCIPLINE
1: to punish or penalize for the sake of enforcing obedience and perfecting moral character
2: to train or develop by instruction and exercise especially in self-control
3 a : to bring (a group) under control <discipline troops>
b : to impose order upon <serious writers discipline and refine their writing styles>
Today I wish to concentrate on the second definition above.
‘To train or develop by instruction and exercise especially in self-control.’
A tweet from my good friend @paddyanglican on 27th October following success for a local sports team, set me thinking:
‘Watching idiotic & irresponsible parents driving kids hanging out windows & sunroofs celebrating match in Nenagh #accidentwaitingtohappen’
When I was a young child growing up in the 50s and 60s, we were fortunate to have a car. My father was the only driver, my mother was never given the opportunity to learn how to drive. We children – six in total when the family was complete – scrambled into the back seat (seat belts were unheard of never mind compulsory), for Sunday afternoon outings, trips to visit relatives or longer journeys to holiday destinations. If mammy was not with us then there was a race for the front seat. We never heard of age restrictions for front seat passengers and we all looked on sitting beside the driver as a privilege.
There may well have been grumbles from the back seat of “Ouch! You are sitting on me.” Or “Move over, you are squashing me!” Mammy might chastise whoever she thought to be a culprit, while Daddy’s answer was to intone the rosary, at times on a long journey it would be all fifteen decades plus a litany of saints! That sure quietened us down!!
The older or quieter children were instructed to sit closest to the doors and to make sure that fidgeting hands did not touch the handles that opened the windows or doors.
To this day when any of our siblings travel in the same car, one or other can be heard intoning a typical stream of chants from those far off days.
“Are we nearly there yet?”
“Why did we come this way?”
“Are there no shops?”
Boredom was kept at bay by games of ‘I spy’ or ‘guessing the colour of the next car to come round a corner’ and singing. Singing kept us happy on many a long journey.
In the hottest weather we were allowed to open the windows about an inch to let air circulate. Putting a hand through the gap was considered an offence and as for sticking a head out of an open window…..
Once and only once, do I remember such a thing happening. It was on a quiet country road in early summer. Daddy pulled over to the side of the road and offloaded the offender telling them they would have to walk home. He resumed his seat at the wheel, started the car and drove about 100 yards before stopping once more. The offender ran tearfully to the car, where a door opened and Daddy’s sharp tone said “Get in!”
It was enough. A lesson for all of us, and we never attempted to put heads, hands or anything else out through an open window again.
Today, child safety protection laws make it compulsory for all children to use the correct child seat, booster seat or booster cushion. Smaller children – under 150 centimetres and less than 36 kilograms – must be restrained in an appropriate child restraint system when travelling in a passenger car or goods vehicle.
Source: Road Safety Authority
So not alone were the parents of those children mentioned by @paddyanglican, not teaching their offspring the proper discipline of how to behave in a moving vehicle, they were actually breaking the law.
If there was an accident, I wonder who the parents would blame?
The topic of Discipline was chosen by Delirious, so why not drive on over to China and see what road she takes us down before checking out the other active members: Anu, Delirious, Maxi, Maria/Gaelikaa, Maria SilverFox, OCD writer, Padmum, Paul, Ramana, Rohit Shackman speaks, The Old Fossil, Will Knott.
Lets hear it for nanny states of the western world – we share that stuff across the board. All that you covered was nearly identical for my experiences in Colorado and then California.
Oh I had to laugh thinking of my favourite aunt carting 12 children to the strand in a morris minor. I think there were 3 layers of us in the back……and the picnic basket was HUGE.
the roads were quieter then.
I agree, children need discipline. Your post today is great. When I was schooled by the nuns, I learned the hard way that naughtly children were assigned the following to write on the blackboard or a piece of paper…50, 100 or more times:
“Discipline is the training, which makes punishment unnecessary.”
But parents are culpable too. Dianne
Shackman – You have to remember that our cars were smaller that the average American ones and as WWW says below the roads were quieter than they are today. She lived in the country and I grew up in Dublin. I don’t remember speed limits (no doubt someone will put me right), the roads all single carriage and the cars were not built for speed.
WWW – I love the image of the three layers of gangly knees!
Dianne – I like that saying: “Discipline is the training, which makes punishment unnecessary.” – I may well use at some point.
My sister and I used to play that game where you went through the alphabet finding each letter in turn on a sign. Of course, there was only one sign between my grandparents house and our house with a Q on it – Quaker State – so you’d better keep your wits about you and get through P before reaching that sign or you were automatically out of the game!
Fos – I spent the last half hour trying to think of a sign from my childhood that we might pass on our regular journeys without success. Bill Boards maybe but not street signs.
We used to have the Burma Shave signs among others alongside the major country roads. There were no billboards at all, just signs at the edges of pastures on the other side of the ditch. Burma Shave put a series of signs that read as verse, for example:
Like she useter?
Perhaps she’s seen
A smoother rooster!!
A whole bunch of them are available at:
When I was a child, my mother would take us all on a vacation every summer. She would drive 12+ hours to her hometown in southern Utah. She was the only licensed driver, but would drive straight through without resting. Sometimes we kids would get tired and cranky. If we started to fight, and didn’t listen when she asked us to quiet down, she would pull over by the side of the road and tell us that when we stopped arguing she would start driving again. It didn’t take long in that hot car for us to quiet down. 🙂
Although there will be exceptions, today, I find that neither the parents nor the teachers in schools are responsible for discipline. Each passes the buck to the other with the latter getting more and more stick if they try to discipline the children. Many of the problems that the world is seeing now with young adults can be traced back to this peculiar phenomenon. I despair for the future.
Roads were definitely quieter and cars were tougher, but the seat belt and restraint laws are good and appropriate.
Fos – I lived with a Burma star and he liked a close shave! 😆
Delores – That was a long days driving to be cooped up in a car. After the incident mentioned in my post, all my father had to do was tip his brakes and we knew to be quiet! None of us wanted to walk home.
Ramana – But… but… it is all the Governments fault. Right?
Tilly – I have no complaint with the seat belt and restraint laws. My complaints are with the parents or drivers who do not enforce them inside the vehicle. I also think that the cars of today are built to travel at unrealistically fast speeds.