I’ve just received an interesting comment from a Voice reader that questions how I can justify poking fun at something that I freely state I know very little about.
The topic in question is yoga, which I wrote about two weeks ago after taking exactly one class, so I’d like to clarify right now that while I may have been making fun of the situation I found myself in I had no intention of criticising people who practice yoga or any other mental or physical activity such as martial arts, running, swimming, meditation, playing a musical instrument or whatever. I have great respect for people who stick to their chosen discipline; and even if today is April Fools Day, that’s no joke.
Now traditionally, the first of April is a time for pranks such as filling sugar jars with salt so people who like sweet coffee or tea – ideally, your mum or dad – will gag on their first sip of the day; or, if your parents don’t use sugar, wrapping cling film over the toilet bowl below the seat so…well, you get the idea.
Anyway, the date gives me a good excuse for a light-hearted column this week but I don’t really want to joke around too much because today is also the third anniversary of Lieutenant General Ian Khama taking over as president of Botswana and I’d rather stick to one of his favourite topics – mainly discipline. Right from his inaugural address our Sandhurst Military Academy trained president has pushed for greater discipline throughout our society, and in the aftermath of the devastating earthquake and tsunami that hit Japan three weeks ago we can clearly see the benefits of promoting that quality.
The Japanese government, the emergency services and, most notably, the general public have been an inspiration to the rest of the world mainly because they have displayed a discipline that has allowed them to focus on what would be best for everyone instead of just worrying about themselves.
There have been disciplined queues for water and groceries, people have bought only what they needed for a few days so everybody could get something, there doesn’t seem to have been any looting in shops or honking and impatient driving on the roads, restaurants cut prices and about 50 workers exposed themselves to radiation to pump sea water into the damaged nuclear reactors.
The other thing I’d like to point out about President Khama pushing for more discipline in our population is that he has undoubtedly established the authority to do so. He is an incredibly busy man but still he always finds the time keep fit. Which brings us to another interesting aspect of discipline; it allows us to see that we all need to try to improve ourselves before we try to improve others so that we can lead by example.
I’ve found that, ‘Do as I say, not as I do,’ just doesn’t work; and as a parent, that is something I feel qualified to talk about.