The Things We Take For Granted

There is an old saying :“ You do not know what You Have Until It’s Gone.” It reminded me of what I am missing most currently.
There are many things that I had always taken for granted until they were denied me or taken from me. Among these was order and discipline.
The psychologists define discipline as the ability to adhere and conform to the codes of ethics and behavior and the ability and stamina to concentrate and focus on what you do which is a fundamental quality to achieve success.
I grew up in a family where my parents like all parents of their time, instilled in us order and discipline in preparation for the challenges of life in the future. They passed on to us what they wanted to preserve in their culture: Unity, integrity,humility, discipline,fairness, humour,commitment, and hard work. They knew very well that order and discipline stimulated creativity potential and stimulated growth and development in an individual. I have no doubt they would have agreed fully with F.D.Roosevelt had they compared notes on parenthood.
“We may not be able to prepare the future for our children but we can at least prepare our children for the future.” – Franklin D. Roosevelt. 32nd President of the United States of America.

They say that Charity begins at home but what I failed to pick from home, I was able to pick from the missionary school that I attended for my fourteen years of formal education. I learned order and discipline most as a member of the school’s athletics team, netball, and hockey team. Sports taught me self-discipline, punctuality, self –respect and respect for others, patience and commitment. I learned how to strive to win other than be a mediocre. Through self-discipline I learned how to get more done in the day by staying focused.
By the time I joined the medical school, order and discipline had permeated all aspects of my life. I was quick to understand that any compromise on discipline would slow down my growth and development.
I remember reading a quote about discipline by Katherine Hepburn, an American actress (1907-2003)
“Without discipline, there’s no life at all.’’ I have carried it with me all these years.

Later when I sought better opportunities and choices in Botswana , I was the richer. Botswana is an oasis of good governance and impressive economic growth. It is one country in Africa which has tried to preserve its old values of being community –orientated and of high ethical values along with democracy, development, unity and self-reliance. Here things flow smoothly into each other and the people conduct themselves in an exemplary manner. Seeing a government minister in a queue at the Automated Teller Machine or in a hospital is not a rare sight. From childhood, the Batswana are prepared as to how to become good citizens and have learned to work for the common good. For the two decades I lived and worked in Botswana, order and discipline remained with me and helped me to develop commitment to whatever I chose to do.

Fast-Forward and I am back where I started but now in a digitally connected world. According to the Uganda Population Census of 2014, 78% of the total population is under 30 years of age. Those living in the urban areas have phones and are globally connected. They mix things up to create something new without considering the consequences. Order and discipline are being compromised.
There is a lot of disorder and indiscipline around all of us. It causes distractions, frustrations and drains one’s energy. The tangled traffic in the cities makes working in such areas feel like a struggle or sacrifice. Every day you have to decide on which route to take or where to park your car for the day.
For those who have to cross the streets in the city, looking out for the boda bodas – motor cycle taxis which apparently can appear from any direction and suddenly knock you down also drains your energy. When you finally settle down to do your actual work you are less productive since you have already spent your best energy on the less important. The cycle continues throughout the year so your personal growth and development and that of the institution you work for tend to lag behind.

Situations like this make me cry out for the order and discipline that I have always known. You may consider me rigid and locked into old ways but at the back of my mind I know that I have to change a few things to survive and remain relevant in this rapidly changing world. The young generation must have heard of this phrase: “The more things change, the more they stay the same.” Even in this Information age, you thrive best where there is order and discipline. You start off by trying to manage what you can control under the circumstances. It is still plain and simple: Charity begins at home. You have to create order and discipline in your homes first and then move out to the work place and any other place where you have control. It is the only way you can contribute what is most important and give of your best.
Resigning to the disorder and the indiscipline is like giving up on life itself.
Find comfort in these two quotations:
“ If you dedicate your attention to discipline in your life, you become smarter.’’ Russell Banks, an American writer
“ I am , indeed a king, because I know how to rule myself.” Pietro Aretino, Italian Writer(1492-1556)

Thank you for visiting my blog and reading this post. May it inspire you to change what you can other than let the circumstances change you. I would be happy if you made a comment about it and also shared it with family and friends.



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