Coming Back to Order
We can feel the end of the summer in the air, the weather is slowly getting cooler, mornings are crisp, and it is getting dark earlier. Nature is very predictable and the change in seasons show up slowly regardless of us being ready or not, however, we all slowly adapt. I deeply appreciate the changes in seasons, I like them all, but I have to say that spring and summer are my favorite ones because they allow me to be outdoors and that is one of my favorite activities. As the weather is changing, we are also reminded that for many people this time of the year relates to children going back to school. And parents feel that their lives are going back to order, and they can follow a schedule.
My grandson was happy to show me his new backpack, pencil case and lunch box. I asked him if he was ready to go back to school and his answer was a strong no. He probably has mixed feelings about it because he also loves summer and the outdoors. As a young mother by this time, I was certainly ready for my children to go back to school and their daily routine.
Seasons represent changes in our lives and habits. Summer is a time to relax, to not take things so seriously and to have more fun. Parents tend to let go of tight schedules and rules. Parents and children enjoy this freedom, and they also will slowly welcome getting back into a routine that allows for growth and expansion of knowledge that school provides.
Discipline and order are wonderful virtues to be embraced and when we learn to cultivate them, it grows on us making our life simpler and easier. However, at first it requires effort. Just like foreign language you struggle at first, but with practice, persistent studying, and commitment one day you wake up and you are bilingual. This new way of being becomes effortless, simple, easy, second nature. You become one with discipline, just like the singer becomes the song or the dancer becomes the dance.
Perhaps you have noticed the discipline with which God created the world. Day and night have a rhythmic discipline and it doesn’t change. The sun comes out and it sets inviting the moon to come out. The sun never says, “I don’t feel like getting up, I am pressing the snooze button.” The sun comes out with precision at a specific time every day and it changes with precision every day. That gives all of us a sense of feeling safe and secure, we know what to expect. Kind, consistent discipline does the same thing for children.
Discipline gives children a sense of safety and security. I am not referring here to discipline as punishment but discipline of behaviors and routines. For example, when my children were growing up, I was very disciplined as a parent during the school year; we ate dinner at the same time every day and after dinner, they did their homework. Even during conflicts in our family, we had a disciplined way to deal with them: Family meetings, everyone took turns expressing anger and frustration, apologies took place and requests were made for future behaviors and we always ended with sharing one thing we appreciated about the other person. Our first family meeting lasted a long time, after a few years of disciplined practice it took a lot less time. My youngest son’s girlfriend just shared with me that my son had told her how we handled conflicts in our family, and he would like to embrace some of the same practices in their relationship. The practices that we embrace with discipline as parents will last a lifetime and they will be passed on to future generations.
As my oldest son and daughter in law are raising their children. My son said to his wife “my mom ran a tight ship,” he was referring to the discipline and order we had in our family life and how that was helpful to him and how it could help their children succeed. My daughter in law had an amazing way to discipline her babies into their nighttime sleep, they were all happily sleeping through the night within a couple of months of birth and they didn’t cry when she put them down for the night. I also love seeing the routines she enforces during school nights and bedtime habits.
Discipline and order gives children a sense of safety and security. They know what to expect, they learn to embrace the rules of success. Parents can enforce it with gentleness, and loving kindness. It pays off tremendously in helping children succeed.
Happy new school year for all parents and children, including college!
Veronica Correa, LCSW-C, is a licensed clinical social worker, certified hypnotherapist and life coach.
To learn more about her work visit: www.thepersonalwellnesscenter.com or call 410-742-6016