Wednesday, Oct. 17, 2018

Disciple or discipline

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June 6, 2018

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A very common scenario in most of our homes today is where, ranging from toddlers to college-going teens, all are hooked to electronic gadgets – mobiles, television, computer, internet, etc leaving behind the playgrounds and the sports we used to play after school. The interaction and conversation is also missing by and large. All are engrossed in gadgets. Sometimes it is the absence of both (working) parents when the child reaches home and sometimes it is also carelessness that makes it a habit or let me say addiction. Who is responsible for all this?


There are parents who have devised a strategy to mitigate this effect by not having any such gadget at home. Some don’t have access to internet or have restricted parents-only access, bringing things under control. Is this the answer? I have a different view on this subject. We all are aware about some of the most common side effects of watching television:

In children

  • For more than four hours every day = overweight
  • Watch violent movies and programmes = scary and aggressive
  • Switching channels during advertisement breaks continuously = intolerance
  • Depiction of risky behaviour like smoking, etc = addiction
  • Become less sensitive to real life instances

In adults

  • Don’t enjoy social events and get-togethers, leave to watch some programme on tv
  • You start to direct yourself on the proceedings of any drama series subconsciously
  • Switch it on the whole day, not necessarily sitting to watch
  • Watching out of habit and not interest
  • No family time, engrossed in the television

So do we consider the responsible parents who have kept their children away, actually television away from their children and themselves, a fair deal? Not really. I will try to illustrate by differentiating the meaning of two words – DISCIPLE and DISCIPLINE.

I consider the children without gadgets to be DISCIPLES because as per the dictionary, a disciple is a follower and student of a mentor, teacher, or other figure. The word ‘disciple’ literally means someone who pledges to be a learner. It is someone who follows another person’s teaching, and adheres to it. In the above case it is the parents, who have groomed the follower by restricting the existence of the television. The children can grow up to be discipleship leaders. .

On the other hand, if we talk about the mentoring role of parents with children having gadget facility – they employ certain techniques like time management, responsibility-based discipline and sometimes (not at all recommended but practiced) physical punishment to counter the addiction of television. With the former type a little DISCIPLINE has come into picture. Even discipline requires discipleship as an attribute.

As per the dictionary, discipline is the practice of training people to obey rules or a code of behaviour, using punishment to correct disobedience. Discipline is action or inaction that is regulated to be in accordance (or to achieve accord) with a system of governance. Discipline is commonly applied to regulating human and animal behavior, and furthermore, it is applied to each activity-branch in all branches of organized activity, knowledge, and other fields of study and observation. Discipline can be a set of expectations that are required by any governing entity including the self, groups, classes, fields or societies.

Now it is the parents’ ultimate decision to have a television set or not. I would say that more than disciple-ing your ward, we might try disciplining them. That is, to inculcate the inner control strategy. The children should be taught to adjust their timing for studies, play and watching television. They should be educated on what to watch and when with parents (around or along). The most common thing that parents do is – restrict, monitor, limit, explain, schedule, view along, have no cable connection, discourage television as dinner accompaniment, etc.

Discipleship alone could create a craving for television and limited exposure and positive information media access. Having a disciplined approach through discipleship could be tried, having and working out plans that work out to be more beneficial for the children. Let the children be equipped with self-control and self realization more than compulsion and exertion because both discipleship and discipline go hand in hand; like happy learning and happy enjoying. Learn to enjoy and enjoy learning.

I am a 1996 Alumini and Lecturer with Institute of Hotel Management, Ahmedabad since 2002. I am a proud recipient of (1) National Award for Excellence in Hospitality Education THE BEST TEACHER 2008-09 MoT, GOI , (2) Aspiring Researcher 2015 IHC and (3) Educators Award 2017, IHC (awarded but not received).

After completing M.Phil (Tourism Management), I am pursuing Ph.d (Management). My tenure extends to National & International exposure (Bahrain, Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, and Switzerland) through industry operations and academia. I am a Qualified Learning Facilitator from Ecole Hotelier De Lausanne Switzerland and a Master Trainer for NCHMCT.

I continue to write with 130 + articles published on various disciplines in local, state, national and international level newspapers, journals and magazines. I have my research papers published in various peer-reviewed journals. I look forward to opportunities for walking that extra mile to learn and to make a paradigm shift from teaching to learning.

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