Tuesday, August 03, 2004


I don't believe the word "discipline" is used properly when it is a verb. It suggests uptight schoolmasters and wooden paddles. Chew-spattered Southern baptists taking their children out back, shouting "I'll larn ya!" followed by the crisp sounds of leather on flesh.

Discipline should be a noun. It's a state of being, an achievement wherein one restricts the behavior into focused, functional activities. It's what happens when you learn to restrain all those beasty impulses and become civilized. Discipline should be the gift you offer your children and slowly teach them to appreciate.

My sister uses the word "discipine" every time she sees me and my unruly child. admittedly, this has only happened once. So far. She offers me suggestions on the phone, and has offered to buy me copies of the books she has found useful as a parent. They all sound hideous, with titles like "Think Space," or "The Dog-Trainer's Guide to Raising Children." I don't want to raise my child like a dog, even if she does need it!

My sister comes to visit tomorrow. I'm petrified.

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