“Through discipline comes freedom.” (Aristotle)
Today’s title is not about simply doing your homework early so that you have the freedom to play video games. Or obeying traffic laws so that you can continue to enjoy the freedom of the roads. It is about weaving discipline and obedience into the fabric of your life–living a life of freedom. Not just at certain times when pressed.
Duc’s (“Duke”), my large, 9-year-old Standard Poodle has earned countless hours of leashless freedom on the mountainous trails adjacent to our home because of his obedience. He learned to come and stand by me regardless of the distraction; horses, runners, cyclists–or even other dogs. Along with his knowing not to get out of my sight. These disciplines have earned him the joyful freedom of being in the hills, chasing butterflies and deer, running this way and that for the sheer sake of running–joyfully leashless. I feel for the other dogs and and their humans as they both wrestle with leashes out there.
Both obedience and discipline can be–should be–lifelong decisions. Not moment-to-moment choices that we have to sweat out repeatedly. Charles A. Lindbergh, of first solo air crossing of the Atlantic fame, had no money and no prospects when he made the decision to be the first. The power of his decision saw him through seemingly impossible odds.
My stepmother’s Mother, “Auntoy” was my oasis of sanity, love and encouragement when I was first growing up. One of her quotes, “A coward dies a thousand deaths, a hero dies but once” stays with my today.
Obedience and discipline are two sides of the same coin, using many of the same mental muscles.
Obedience does not mean being obsequious or being a today. Freedom is neither anarchy not simply rebellion; both are traps which are the opposite of freedom. And discipline does not mean, say, doing 150 sit-ups each day just to be disciplined.
We all know where we need to be obedient and where we need to be disciplined. And those areas are likely different for each of us. And while freedom may be defined differently for all of us, it will feel much the same; glorious and satisfying.
Let’s help each other to lead comfortable, sure and steady, lives of discipline and obedience.
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Will Luden, writing from my home office at 7,200’ in Colorado Springs.