Discipline is good, often it’s absolutely necessary. It sets you up on the right path. It teaches you the correct, most efficient way to do thinks. It exposes you to what it means to be obedient, and in time, if you take the discipline, a good leader, a person with self-control, with standards, maybe even a perspective. It’s been an integral part of my life. Growing up with an ex-military father in a Nigerian household, I had no choice but to adhere to the strictures of discipline. People saw my mum’s children as perfectly behaved, charming kids – we saw our peers as, at times, rude, out-of-order and even admiringly daring. Going to school you are enrolled in an institute of discipline which extended even to the choirs we sang in. Learning to be silent, stand still, clap in a specific way, at a specific height, at a specific time. Training your eyes to never leave the face of the conductor, your chin to hold your head at a just-so angle, your feet learning the correct way to ‘gospel choir style’ shuffle. Discipline became a characteristic of my personality. Even now there are some things, such as calling adults by their first name, or talking extensively in rehearsals, answering back, i still can’t do, or at least don’t do unconsciously.
Yet, the real sweetness of moment can envelop you when we just loosen the belt of discipline, even if it’s only by one knot. That freedom of movement, the freedom to smile even if the song is serious but the harmony is delicious, it teaches you to not be self-conscious. To not worry if you hit a bum note but want to giggle it off. It makes enjoyment of the things you love and are part of just a little bit more accessible. Discipline is important, and people who have no experience of discipline can appear slightly dangerous, precarious to me. Yet, i must admit, there is a sweetness when the strictures fall away and what’s left is simple excitement, the childish joy of doing something you love and doing it the way you want to, even if it’s only once in a while.