How do we define discipline? A number of complex explanations will be discovered if dictio­naries are peeped into. But those complicated words, which need to be again looked up in dictionary to understand the literal meaning before perceiving the connotation, bear little importance in pragmatic life. Contexts develop its relevant definitions.
Very simply, it used to mean for us, since our adolescence, the formulating and leading of life by showing due reverence to the elders around us. We were not supposed to bow our head before them and take in whatever they would give us as order. There was much scope for self-determination—a room to grow—instead, to live one’s life, not to be categorised and treated as ‘just a child.’
This ‘room to grow’ means sovereignty of action and interest that lays an enormous range of choices open, some of them defiant and some of them exploratory. The early adolescents are daredevils by nature to vigorously and reflexively refuse to go along with parental authority, and directly and vicariously explore more worldly experiences. After leaving behind ‘the age of being commanded,’ that is childhood, young minds tend to explore the world, want to touch the water drops when it rains, crave for swimming in the river under the open heaven. Adventures are often a crazy thing to find a concrete ground into their mindset.
No such actions are off-putting, though—in fact natural at that age—unless they go by the boundary. But examples of the ‘damn-it’ nature of our teenagers are countless in our present society. That sad part of our social life in Dhaka, especially in upper sections, opened up before us only one chapter of the negative tales taking place every day.
sEarlier last year, a minor schoolboy of around fifteen years of age was murdered based on a factional fight between two gangs in their playing field in the capital. There are quite a few numbers of examples as such in our society.
What actually hit my mind is the outrageous juvenile subculture that has lately been in open practice in the capital and also in major cities around the country. School- and college-going boys form individual groups based on their colonies and try to dominate one another, which during the happening turned even worse. The law enforcing agencies do not seem to take this ‘neo culture’ among our youths so seriously, which is why there is a possibility of terror activities’ getting deep-rooted with even more vigour. Punitive actions, you know, are scarce these days!
Engagement by growing-up children into different groups is nothing new in our society. Rather, in past days, these activities were regarded as a good practice for the youths’ own welfare activities. But in recent days these sorts of gangs have involved themselves in anarchic activities like eve teasing, showdown with arms, taking drugs, uncontrolled motorbike racing, uttering discriminating words to girls and women and threatening one another, which obviously carry a bad forewarning for the generations coming. Time has come to question one’s self as to why one’s children are directed to the wrong way and who are behind all these.
Children are usually fond of imitating. In society, children are surrounded by many influential models, such as parents within the family, characters on children’s TV, friends within their peer group and teachers at school. They provide examples of behaviour to observe and imitate. One should, hence, be aware of one’s behaviour to be avoided before children, of the models with whom one’s children are having friendship, and of the TV channels which the children are accustosmed to.
Because of busy professional lives, parents’ spending little time with the family makes children vulnerable to these types of activities. Therefore, a campaign for a strong familial bond is pressingly required. Also, the defects in our education system, which deter imparting proper lessons to the young generation, should be removed.
It is also worth mentioning here that a strong law and order situation is essential to stop crimes like these. Children are also being persuaded to do criminal activities with the evidence that some, in spite of committing severe crimes, are successfully evading laws with their political authority. Criminals are born more in number in society not because they love crimes but because they find it so easy to evade serving in the prison.
In our surroundings, we extremely feel the lack of practice and patronising of our own culture. Everywhere in our society people are leaning towards dubious tastes. To save the youths from self degradation and juvenile subculture, libraries, arts and music schools, doing theatre, and the like should be promoted more in our society.
We should guide our youths to these places which represent our very own culture. Through teaching values and bringing discipline in youths’ life, we can hope for a better harmonious society for our next generation. We should not ignore what our young generation is doing and getting involved into. Overlooking is a disease among parents to let their children grow up according to what they have never dreamt of.

Kamal Hosen is an Assistant Editor, Bangladesh Post