Education Gems

Beginning of wisdom

“The beginning of wisdom is the desire for discipline.”

That’s a bit of a strange statement, because we have been schooled from childhood that the “fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom.” I guess that this is why the statement jumped out in the first place. However, the context was not a scriptural one, but a reflection of the life of Abraham Lincoln whose mother taught him that “the beginning of wisdom is not imposed by discipline, but the beginning of wisdom is the desire for discipline, the love of it and the voluntary choice for it.”

Without falling over the ‘beginning of wisdom’, a wise person is one who desires and has discipline, and this makes a lot of sense. Considering the times we live in, a wise person is one who is able to apply a strong sense of self discipline. Putting boundaries in place and maintaining them is more than a highly desirable skill; it is a recognition of the distractions that so easily side track us and bring us to places where we might not want to be.

Consequently, self-discipline is something which needs to be nurtured. From a student perspective, working on an assignment will require the connection in Outlook to be ‘offline’, the mobile phone to be in a different room, etc. It requires internet access for related study purposes only. These are distractions that may be harmless in themselves but double the time they are doing homework (only because half the time they are not doing homework😊).

But it is more than that… the struggle against sin needs a sound sense of self discipline, it need guards to be put in place. It is a biblical principle that when restraint is thrown off, sin abounds. This is what nurturing our children is all about; placing guards of restraint. As our children mature, the guards are manipulated to allow a seemingly greater amount of freedom. But what actually is happening is that self-discipline is at work so that the freedom is not abused. And the challenge then is to know when and how to manipulate these guards parents put in place, and when to remove these altogether.

And, of course, similar to guard rails on a cliff edge, there are things that are put in place which should never be removed at all.
But the best thing of all is when these guards are welcomed… wisdom is at work.

M Plug, Principal