Gold Star Leadership
Lesson 2

Military discipline has earned an unfair reputation and is associated with very negative feelings and actions. These two words evoke images of a crack drill sergeant major snapping out commands to thousands of regular army soldiers, exaggerated barrack block inspections, soldiers confined to barracks for days on end and terribly strenuous back-breaking work details. Hollywood is partially responsible for this popular image of military discipline, and it will probably continue to endure, but there is another side to the coin, and in this lesson we will discuss service discipline with a focus on the positive aspects.

When recruits join the army, they are told to keep within the laws of the code of service discipline. This code details all the do's and don'ts of being a soldier in the Canadian Forces. It does not apply to army cadets, but as a cadet, you are asked to keep within the spirit of the code and conduct yourself in a manner that suits a member of the Canadian Forces and the Royal Canadian Army Cadets. The sections of the code that are the most applicable to army cadets have already been explained to you in other portions of the star programme, such as the lesson on a healthy and safe lifestyle and the duties of a follower (Green Star).

The word discipline comes from the root work disciple - meaning a "willing follower". The importance of discipline, especially in an organization like our cadet corps, lies in the willingness of all cadets and officers to follow the rules of the organization. What this means of course is that all the cadets must give up a bit of their freedom in the belief that discipline will provide benefits for everyone, which are more important than the individual sacrifices made.

You might well ask what some of the benefits of discipline are in a group situation like your army cadet corps. One of these benefits stems from the community living situations that army cadets [and SAC students] must face from time to time. Discipline ensures that all the cadets do their share of the routine duties and that they get equal treatment regardless of their age, sex, physical stature, economic status or rank. it would be most unfair to ask the same cadet to pull fire picket duty three nights in a row when there are other cadets to replace him.

another of these benefits is the development of team work and a team spirit among the members of the cadet corps. Many of the activities that army cadets are likely to undertake can only be completed if everyone works together in a disciplined and co-ordinated way. constructing a rope bridge, cooking a meal for 50 people and organizing you annual inspection parade all require a disciplined group approach to the work.
Your Turn...

1. Give an example of imposed discipline that you experienced as a younger cadet. In a second paragraph, give an example of imposed discipline that you imposed on junior cadets since becoming a leader.

2. Show how you have demonstrated self-discipline in the past and how you hope to improve your abilities in this area in the future.
3. On a scale of 1 to 10, rate our ability to demonstrate self-discipline.

Move to Gold Star Leadership - Lesson 3

Source: Gold Star Handbook (A-CR-CCP-121/PT-001) - Chapter 11