Those days when we were young and in Primary School, the Deputy Head teacher (in fact those days it was headmaster/headmistress) was tasked with ensuring that all pupils were strictly following the school rules. Well, let’s call it being disciplined. And the enforcement of the rules was not a dialogue-between-student-and-teacher thing. It was by the use of the cane. The cane depended on the strength of the teacher – some preferred huge sticks which would have provided enough fuel for cooking tea (I had to use tea here for the sake of the tea lovers around; and they know themselves). Do you remember those days the teacher on duty would give instructions (demand) that you came to school with two sticks – for caning? And then you would carry out deforestation; then wonder later on where all the trees disappeared to. Tell you what, beating we did receive (there were no child lawyers those days; not that we could afford paying their fees anyway) all in the name of discipline. The best way to enforce discipline to kids is through caning (no?).
Sometimes the sight of the Maths teacher in the morning would make you pee in your pants especially when you had not completed the homework, and there was no way you could do high-speed-dubbing from the genius in your class. It was not possible to copy Geometry – Construction assignment from your friend; remember Circumscribing, Inscribing, Ascribing a circle in/out of a triangle or dropping a perpendicular line? And sometimes the teacher’s dressing affected his/her moods so we could tell in advance that it would be a not-so-enjoyable day.
Those days there were no conversations like;
“Mom, I don’t feel like going to school today”
“What is it my little angel? Maybe you could watch cartoon network to uplift your moods”
“No mom, I want pizza”
“Okay angel, I will buy you pizza on our way to school, now get dressed up”
There was no TV, only a wooden radio which was securely locked in a cupboard and would be switched on when the father Okayed it. In the morning, at around 6.00am, the song ‘Amka Kumekucha by Maroon Commandos’ would be airing on KBC so really whether you had the moods or not you would walk to school. And by the way what is pizza?
High School was better because there was no caning except on very grievous mistakes and only the director would do it; and a maximum of only six strokes of the cane. The discipline master here was the ‘Prefectorial Force’ which was composed of prefects and captains. Disclaimer: that is in the high school I attended, others had caning (or should I say flogging) as described above.
When we read in Matthew 21: 12 – 13, we learn how Jesus chased away traders from the temple. He was instilling discipline to those rogue businessmen who had grabbed the temple and turned it into a market. The ideal Discipline Master here did not care whether the traders came from His village or whether they could bribe Him in order to use the space to sell their wares. He treated all as indisciplined sending them away. And remember that He did not call a meeting to dialogue with them whether it was right or not, or give them time to look for an alternative place to carry on their trading. See, He used a whip – now you concur with my assertion above about caning eh? Sometimes it is necessary to use a whip especially when you are dealing with the hard-headed fellows. Unfortunately there has never been a standard set for the intensity of the whipping, the length, and thickness of the whip or the velocity to be used. I guess that’s why the state eventually withdrew all those privileges from teachers (caning) and prison wardens (whipping).
If it were in Kenya, and Nairobi for that matter, idlers would take advantage of the situation, rush into the temple and start looting – hiding in the lack of order created by the commotion. That’s why you find some people ‘helping themselves’ with other people’s items in accidents instead of rescuing the victims. And am sure Jesus would not spare them the whipping. Then they would complain to the state (tunaomba serikali iingilie kati), as if it is their right to loot. Some politicians, taking advantage of the miserable people would stand in solidarity with them and condemn Jesus for chasing away the traders and the looters, and add to the shout: haki yetu. All in the name of soliciting for votes in the near-future-elections. Then the voters would be blinded by some of these acts and vote them in, then immediately start complaining and asking the state to come to their rescue. Makes me sick sometimes (joking). Enough of that, I never intended to turn this story into a political debate. Apologies.
The Ultimate Discipline Master is someone’s mind. The human mind is created in a special way. It is able to differentiate between what is good and what is bad, morally upright and immoral, acceptable and inacceptable behavior, right vs wrong. What do scientists call that? Because it is what makes us humans human and not mere animals. It is personal discipline that distinguishes us as humans. Okay, that assertion is not backed by empirical study, maybe you could do a research on this topic and present it as your dissertation – and do not forget to pay me royalties for use of my idea.
It is that personal discipline which will make you not to loot,
Discipline will guide you to take your goods to the market to sell and not in the temple,
Discipline will make you wake up on Monday morning and smile about it all the way to your work place,
Discipline will make you not pick that stone and hurl it to your neighbor, policeman or the shop window,
Discipline makes you responsible; that you would not take all your money to the bar then start begging for your children’s school fees from your friends or the state (tunaomba serikali),
Discipline makes you be faithful to your wife or husband,
It is what makes you not jump from the top of a building to the tarmac below when faced with life challenges,
Discipline guides you to the right principles in life.
And as my Primary school motto read: Self-Discipline Promotes Excellence, you are bound to do well in whatever you do if at all you are disciplined.
So am seated in this ‘Table of Men’ (remember that advert) in Garissa when this guy while narrating to us an interesting story about the history of this country (will not disclose the contents of it), suddenly says: ‘The problem with you young guys is that you do not read books’.
I almost told him that we have one voluminous book; FaceBook.
Exit fiction; enter biographies and historical books about people and events in Kenya’s history. I will discipline my reading to those items that matter.