When I was a child, my parents had me do all sorts of things. Piano lessons, study for school, chores around the house, and so on. One thing they didn’t do, for better or worse, is to explain to me why I’m practicing the piano rather than running around with kids outside. Thankfully, I got the message, about 40 years later. I understand why. Now. But had I been taught this lesson earlier, it may have made a difference in my life. Not that I would change a thing, having met my wife, and had a long happy relationship, and having discovered God and invited him into my life. But if I understood what discipline is at the time I was being forced to study, maybe there would not have been problems.
Discipline is lacking in our world. Kids are knocking people down on the streets of our cities because they lack discipline. A lot of our societal problems can be solved by learning discipline. Especially when you understand that discipline sets you free. Michael Jordan could not make his high school varsity basketball team. He wondered why, so he asked the coach directly. The coach told him that he missed too many free throws. So Michael Jordan gave up, right? No, he went to work. He practiced his free throw. He set out every day to make 500 free throws, and he didn’t stop until he reached his goal. Every day. He still does it. So he made the team. Then he asked what his next weakness was, and set out to work on it. He kept at it until he was the best. His discipline, his hard work, set him free. But you have to understand the purpose.
I hate to walk around in circles. I won’t go on a walk just to walk a mile, or two. I need a direction. So when I got to a place where I could go somewhere I wanted to go every day (Mass), and I make it a point to walk there every day. Almost a mile there, and then back, sometimes going the long way. It’s discipline.
We need discipline in all aspects of our lives. We don’t always necessarily want to go to Mass. But we do, if we’re disciplined. We don’t always want to do what our spouse wants us to do. But we do, if we’re disciplined. We don’t always want to work hard. But we do, if we’re disciplined.
We may want to eat donuts every day, drink alcohol til we drop, snort drugs, and all. We might want to drive 100 mph to get there faster. But if we discipline ourselves, and put God first, other people next, and ourselves last, we find discipline, and when you’re disciplined, you find yourself free.
This Thanksgiving, be disciplined, don’t eat too much, remember what Thanksgiving is about-giving thanks to God, and have a good holiday.