There are a lot of “dirty words”. You know, those words you’d speak as a kid and your mom or dad would threaten to wash your mouth out with soap. I may or may not have had my mouth washed out with soap two times during my childhood.
Confession time: My 8th grade year was my cussing year. It was the year I decided that I needed to learn how to cuss correctly, so I embraced profanity as a part of my vocabulary. Of course, I only cussed around a few friends, and never at home. In fact, oddly, I only cussed around my Christian friends because I didn’t want to be a bad testimony to my friends who didn’t know Jesus. Craig...Jason...Joe...sorry about that.
My cussing phase actually ended abruptly
One Sunday after church I was watching my beloved Oakland Raiders play on TV. A play happened at the end of the game where the boys in silver and black turned the ball over and lost the game. As the interception was thrown, I blurted out one of those “dirty words”. Only problem was that my mother was in the room. I tried to assure her that I said “piece of ship” in reference to quarterback Mark Wilson. She was fairly convinced I wasn’t insulting his nautical likeness.
When dad came home that afternoon, he helped cure me of my cussing problem.
Now I’m 38 and I still try to avoid those “dirty words”. However, I’ve added a few more to the list than the four-letter classics. Words like, “discipline”.
While the word discipline won’t make my mom give me one of those stares that is a God-given gift to mothers, it carries with it a lot of baggage. Just try it. Next time you’re having fun hanging out with friends at a party, loudly say this: “Man, I just really need to work on my personal discipline!” [cue music scratching, conversation abruptly ending, room halting, everyone staring in disbelief]. You know someone will want to know if you kiss your mom with those lips.
Discipline evokes emotions. If you grew up in a super disciplined home, you might react negatively to the word. If you have lived most of your life without discipline, you might see it as a threat. If you love a well-organized, super structured work or home environment, discipline might be one of your favorite words (sicko!). But like most profanities, you can’t use the word without people noticing.
For the next couple of weeks I want to write about some key disciplines necessary to live the Overboard Life. As much as you and I may want to add discipline to the dirty words list, we have to be willing to see the power of this idea to influence our choices. Discipline must become a part of our vocabulary, by becoming a part of our daily experience. And like most life changing concepts, discipline isn’t a one-size-fits-all formula for success -- it must be adapted to our individual personal contexts.
So what are some of your thoughts on discipline? Would you be willing to share in the comments your fears, loves, hates when it comes to this dirty d word? Where is discipline easy for you? Where is it a struggle?
Go ahead and take the plunge, life is always better on the water!