Have you ever done something, got in trouble, and then went on doing it again and again? In the tenth grade I had a problem doing my homework, it wasn’t that I didn’t know how to do it, but because I didn’t want to. Zero after zero my grades dwindled until most were D’s and F’s. I got grounded because my mom didn’t like my grades. Instead of doing my homework, I just sat in my room and did nothing. Eventually, I learned that the only discipline that lasts is self-discipline.
I realized that nothing my parents could do would make me do my homework. The only way I could see that it was done was to sit down and do it. I learned that by disciplining myself, I was held more tightly to the path I wanted to take. For a while my self-discipline held out, and my grades started to rise, but later on my self-discipline would fall.
In about January of my sophomore year, I was back to not doing my homework. My worst class for homework was math. We had work to do every night, and I never did it. When the teacher finally checked the homework, I would get a zero out of thirty or forty points, and that didn’t help my grade at all.
In February my self-discipline returned with renewed vigor. I spent at least two hours every night doing page after page of homework, and in a couple of weeks my grades were pretty good again and my self-discipline was as strong as ever.
I passed my sophomore year with okay grades, and I was actually proud of myself. My parents were happy, and I was not grounded anymore. Everything was good, and everyone was proud. My parents thought that their discipline was working. But in truth it was my own self-discipline. That is why I believe that the only discipline that lasts is self-discipline.
If you enjoyed this essay, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to This I Believe, Inc.