DEFINING THE WORDS AND CONCEPTS USED IN THE EVERYDAY PRACTICE OF NONVIOLENCE AND EQUALITY IN RELATIONSHIPS.
The definition of discipline used in Travelling the Road of Peace and Happiness is in keeping with the theme of using family scenarios as examples. Therefore, discipline means:
To teach, assist and guide a child’s development towards self-control.
This definition of discipline is consistent with parenting being guided by the principle of equality. When adapted to refer to adults it becomes:
To teach, assist and guide a person’s development as a self-controlled, interdependent individual.
THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN PUNISHMENT AND CONSEQUENCES.
Punishment occurs when someone imposes some kind of suffering on another. Consequences are the direct result of an action and may be pleasant or unpleasant.
Punishment and consequences are not the same, they are worlds apart. Imposing some form of suffering on a person because of their behaviour is very different to allowing a person to experience the consequences of their actions. Every action has a consequence, but punishment happens only if someone steps in and decides to impose a penalty.
Various alternatives can be used instead of punishment. All these alternatives encourage the development of self-control, cooperation and responsible behaviour. On the other hand, a discipline system relying on rewards and punishments is likely to delay development towards being a self-controlled, interdependent individual.
The lessons a person learns from rewards and punishment are different to the lessons learned from consequences. Rewards and punishment encourage a negative attitude to rules and can result in a ‘them and us’ mentality. The focus is often on the power and attitude of other people and highlights things like obedience and dependence. One of the lessons learned is to avoid getting caught, because punishment only happens if the person is caught.
In contrast to the above, consequences encourage a positive attitude to rules and authority figures as part of moral development because rules are associated with safety, security, reality and love. The lessons learned from consequences are about the effect an action has on the self and others and whether the action should be repeated. By making a direct connection between the action and its effects, consequences highlight our power to affect the welfare of other people, and on the responsibility that goes with that power. Linking action and consequences also makes it much easier to hold each other accountable.
POWER WITH OTHERS OR POWER OVER OTHERS?
Having power with a person is to work together to solve a problem. Having power over a person is to tell that person how, where and when to solve the problem. Power with requires no use of force whereas power over may require the use of considerable force, with no guarantee of success.
We all seek happiness but real human happiness follows peace; peace follows justice; and justice is equality. The main goal of travellers on the road of peace and happiness is to establish equality in their relationships with other people, or to at least move towards equality. That overall goal guides what the travellers choose to centre on in each encounter with other people, especially when there is a conflict of needs, opinions, beliefs or values.
Three centring exercises are described in chapter two of Travelling the Road of Peace and Happiness for dealing with conflict and many suggestions about centring are provided throughout the book, in all sorts of situations, to help travellers remain on the road of peace and happiness.
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