Thursday, May 12, 2016

Aragorn's Guide to Dicipline

Rather unfortunately, I am forced to spend a lot of time around obnoxious teenagers.  

At this point, I don't even learn very much.  Probably over half the class the teacher is either "yelling" (yelling is in quotes because most teachers don't do anything remotely intimidating or effective) at someone off to the side or stopping class in order to make a big deal about it.  But none of the teachers actually "yell" or do anything that even has the possibility of stopping the kids from doing dumb things.  The biggest "disciplinary action" they can really take is to give them a lunch detention.  What is a lunch detention, you ask?  Basically, the kids get to go to a special room where they are supposed to eat lunch all alone...but, all of their friends (also with lunch detentions) are already there!  It's at the point where if kids realize they haven't gotten a lunch detention yet that day, they will purposely do something stupid so they can get one and eat with their friends.

Usually I just work quietly, head down, tuning them out.  But today it occurred to me that these kids have no concept of what it means to be decent.  One teacher simply asked a kid to stack his chair after class, and the kid just took off running down the hall, leaving my teacher to yell at him: "You're getting a lunch detention!"  

Well, I hate to burst your teacher bubble, but that kid does not care if he gets a lunch detention.  He doesn't want to spend ten seconds stacking his chair, so why should he?  If he doesn't want to do it, he won't.

Last year there was a really nice student teacher, who I will call Mr. Smith.  He was funny and young--really popular among the kids.  But a small number of kids kept swearing at him and just being complete..."misunderstood snowflakes of gentleness" who "really didn't mean any harm" and "had a hard time making friends" according to the administration (not actual quotes, but pretty much what they were conveying).  Really?  They have a hard time making friends?  I would never have guessed the people who are constantly swearing and abusing people don't have many friends.  Anyway, Mr. Smith finally took the kids down to the office (gasp!  the office?  but that's too mean!) and demanded that someone discipline these kids so he could get on with his class.  Crickets chirping.

No one in the office helped, and Mr. Smith quit on the spot.  I heard he now works for his father in law and makes twice as much as he did when he was a teacher.

It has gotten so out of control and some high schools that the teachers' union wrote a long letter listing all the problems with the discipline system and sent it to the school district--which the superintendent ignored.  Not important.  Let's spend more money on useless technology so the kids don't have to use pencils (nasty finger cramps hinder learning)!

So I thought to myself: who would be really good at teaching these disrespectful kids a lesson?  Who do I know who shows great discipline, respect, and dignity?

Aragorn, of course!  Here are his top five rules for being disciplined and disciplining others.

  1. Don't let them get away with it!
If someone does something wrong, they need to a) be told it was wrong and b) do something to fix it.  If someone punches someone else, someone needs to reprimand them, and that kid needs to apologize.  It is an absolute necessity.  If you do not follow this rule, none of the other tips will help and there is nothing more I can do.

Take a look at my own lineage: my ancestors were from the island of Numenor.  They completely disregarded the rules of Eru and voyaged into the West.  The Elves told them this was wrong.  It wasn't jut a misunderstanding or accident.  Then, when they still did it, they were punished.  Without exception.  Their island was destroyed.

This is not to understate mercy: for instance, the good Numenorians were saved.  But think of all the Numenorians as one person.  All of the badness in them had to be destroyed (without exception) so that only the good remained.  Have mercy on the person misbehaving, but not on the act they are doing wrong.

The One Wiki to Rule them All
      2. Start at an early age

Kids are very impressionable.  It is important to enforce their character at that age and make it clear that they must behave.  Letting kids get away with whatever they want because it's "cute" or you're in some sort of Freudian mindset and you're afraid they will "dislike you" if you discipline them can fail two ways (and never succeed).  Either they will never be disciplined (unless it is by the police or someone else who quite frankly is not responsible for them) or they will be shocked when--when they are older--you try and tell them what to do.  That is directly where the "nobody gets to tell me what to do" mentality comes from.

I, Aragorn, started at a very early age.  My father literally died when I was two years old because he was defending some villagers from an orc attack.  This goes directly against the "I'll-do-whatever-I-want" mentality.  Did he want to get shot in the eye with an orc arrow?  No.  But defending those people was the right thing to do.  The kids at this school did not have to do anything so drastic--all they had to do was stack a simple chair.
Arathorn and young Aragorn.  Taken from the movie Born of Hope.
     3. Motivate them

Draw a clear distinction between doing things the wrong/disrespectful way and the consequences:  unhappiness, few friends, and even possible jail time and righteousness/respect and a happy life with people who enjoy being around you.

This was one very effective way of pushing me to do my best in all things.  Elrond made it very clear that I would not be able to marry Arwen unless I did my best.  That connection between something I wanted (the marriage) and good things I had to do in order to attain that (ascend the throne of Gondor) kept me going even when it was hardest.

Newline Cinema
     4. Give them good examples

Like I said, even though I was very young when my father Arathorn died, his example kept me going through thick and thin.  Other people I looked up to were Elendil, my forefather, and Elrond my foster-father.  Both these men showed exemplary character, respect for others and themselves, as well as determination and the iron will to get things done.

From what Lembas has told me, the kids today are not provided with many good examples, especially male examples.  She has talked to a number of troubled teens, the majority of whom have family and parental issues.  Often times they do not have any male figures to look up to or if they do, they are not good role-models.

Of course not every family can have a "pops" to go play ball with out in the backyard, but there are other ways to get good role models involved in families.  Community members like neighbors, pastors or priests, older siblings or cousins, uncles, grandfathers, and teachers are all very capable of aiding troubled teens.  One of the best ways to find a role model, is by reading about one.  You can either read biographies of real and historical heroes, or even fictional characters.  I remember reading all about Beren, who I never met, but his story really inspired me, especially in my fight against evil, and hope that my relationship with Arwen could still work out.
Beren.  Copyright by Jenny Dolfen.
     5. Teach them why it is important

I am not necessarily both feet on the ship when it comes to rewarding kids for being respectful.  Surely it might help them get incentive, but they need to understand that being respectful is the right thing to do and should be done naturally.  It is not exceptional to obey simple authoritarian instructions, and should not be treated like it is.  As soon as it looks like this is something the kid gets to decide to do, deciding not to do it instantly becomes a viable option.

I would never think of being rude to an elder like Gandalf, Elrond, or Galadriel.   I simply recognize that they know more than I do, and it is my duty--I owe it to them--to be courteous, no matter what.  Even as king, I bow to the Hobbits because of their valor.

I think the kids at the school Lembas has described still have a fighting chance of getting back on the "straight road" and doing better in the future--if they apply these rules.  Good luck!
Newline Cinema


  1. Oh my yes! I was homeschooled but from college and from what I've heard about the public schools nowadays this sounds pretty accurate. It's so sad. If only Aragorn was teaching. ;)

    1. Aragorn would make the best teacher ever :D

  2. I've only been homeschooled for three years. And when I was in elementary, I saw the same thing and I hated it. I wasn't learning squat and I knew it. I wanted to know stuff and the teachers kept "yelling" at other students. It's pretty much a miracle the day actually ended. I'm sure it wasn't as bad as middle school/high school, but I didn't want to be around those kind of kids. I stayed home and THAT is where I'm staying. I am much happier learning what I want, when I want, and how much I want at home. Thank God I can homeschool! I probably wouldn't be commenting right now if it weren't for that! I'm glad to know you won't be "corrupted" by the school system! And thank you Aragorn for giving us a lesson on discipline! (Do you two hang out a lot? I've been hearing a lot from Aragorn recently XD )

    1. Sorry not three years... SEVEN years. Wow, time flies! :D

    2. Wow, that is a long time! I am pretty much past the "point of no return" as far as homeschooling goes--I'm so close to my friends at this point that I couldn't bear to leave them. I'm glad you found a way of schooling that works out better for you!

      Yeah, Aragorn and I get together every week to have coffee and chat ;)

    3. You know Fawnabelle you bring up a great point! Lover of Lembas sure brings up Aragorn an awful lot! I think there's something going on there! Are you guys dating or something? You can't keep this a secret for forever? Your readers deserve to know!

    4. *facepalm* I would NEVER steal Aragorn from Arwen! We're just good friends, that's all ;)