Dictionary definitions could be limiting, but in this instance, the Longman Dictionary of English Language and Culture offers a very helpful definition of indiscipline. It defines indiscipline as “a state of disorder because of lack of control; lack of discipline.”
In essence, indiscipline is the situation where lack of self-control leads to the loss of orderliness. Consider: on Sunday at a church programme to honour fathers, it was announced that Sobolo was ready to drink after everyone had feted on delicious and healthy local foods and fruits. A queue was promptly formed at the dispenser of the sweet and spicy sobolo. I joined the queue with zest, empty disposable cup in hand. But it was taking me eternity to get my share. To my disgust (because it happened in the church auditorium), some fully grown Christians had walked straight to the mouth of the dispenser and were busily serving themselves, they appeared completely oblivious that some others were in a queue.
Afterwards, the hyperactive and impatient children who had been trying hard to stay in the queue, swiftly jumped it. A survival-of-the-fittest situation ensued. Soon the tap of the dispenser become faulty and the sobolo gushed out on to the Church floor. A savvy person tried to fixed the problem, and the liquid began to flow out as before. Some semblance of order was restored momentarily. I put my cup under the knob and a very impudent child of about 9 or 10 pushed it away and sought to serve himself. I made a threatening sound and gave him a severe evil look. Terrified, he made way for me to fill my cup. By then, no one was in a queue. It was a scramble.
We note indiscipline on the part of those who jumped the queue. They may not have broken any law (though an act of indiscipline may also break the law) or contravened any explicit commandment in the Bible, but they exhibited a lack of discipline. And as far as I know, indiscipline is un-Christian. The Bible enjoins Christians to have self-control, exhibit loving kindness and treat one another with respect.
Now it is particularly shocking that a country as deeply religious as Ghana has such record levels of acts of indiscipline. This is because religion teaches discipline, buttressing the demands of civilisation. A civilised people is a simply a disciplined people, a people that is enable to maintain an orderly society. Yet indiscipline seems to be growing as fast as religion. And a lot of people seem conflate indiscipline with grace. So that for some Christians, if they jump the red light and they are not arrested, they attribute it to God’s grace. And with confusing logic, they justify it.
But we make ourselves a laughing stock, we deny ourselves a place among the civilised people of this world, and we retard our progress and even danger the lives of others and that of our own when we engage in acts of indiscipline. Indiscipline is the exception in a civilised society. Regrettably, it’s appears to be the rule in Ghana.
So next time, join the queue and stay in it until it’s your turn; keep the volume of your music low because of your neighbour who desires silence next door; do not receive that call in the library where you know utmost silence ought to be observed; do not stand in the way; and do not munch loudly in the “chop bar”.
Also endeavour to stop your car at the pedestrian crossing for pedestrians to cross and to not park ‘anyhow’. Remember to not drop litter at unapproved places and bestir yourself to be punctual…
It is quite clear to us when we engage in acts of indiscipline. We must admit that it is unacceptable and change for the better. Other people in the world have been able to build very disciplined societies and they are just as human with one head each.
Indiscipline should not thrive in a 21st Century religious country such as ours and we must admit the shame of it and rid ourselves of it. Or have we lost the sense of shame?
Photo credit: modernghana.com