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Regiment a shining example of discipline

Jump to it: the Royal Bermuda Regiment soldiers are put through their paces by Regiment CO Lieutenant Colonel Michael Foster-Brown. (Photograph by Akil Simmons)

In recent times, the issue of discipline has generated considerable discussion, especially when it comes to the way children are dealt with when they step out of line in expected behaviour.

In the old days a rude child was not seen as cute, and parents or guardians made it very clear that disrespecting basic rules at home, or out in the community, was not to be tolerated.

In today’s climate, some of those parents and guardians who kept discipline alive back then would be hauled before the courts for, shall we say, child abuse because a strap or belt was used in getting the message across that poor behaviour carried consequences.

Before any veins burst with those who frown on punishment involving something more than words, it should also be made clear that child abuse was never condoned in the old days, and indeed should never be accepted today.

However, there have been many cases where proper discipline, even without the physical aspect, was bypassed — and the result was that a young mind felt no need to obey rules, only later to learn the hard way, usually before the courts, that any decent society functions with rules in order to maintain civil order for all.

Over the years, much has been said about the decline in discipline throughout our social infrastructure, which many feel has contributed to weaker families and some behavioural problems in various schools. The effects of not respecting proper rules has in a way tarnished some areas in our sporting world. Without discipline, much of the progress we have made in Bermuda today might not have happened.

Tough economic conditions should not be an excuse for falling short in the area of discipline. Many Bermudians during the war years had far less than we have today, but most families had a no-nonsense approach to dealing with unruly behaviour that actually helped to mould some of our finest citizens.

Watching the Royal Bermuda Regiment going through their paces in preparation for the annual Remembrance Day parade was an opportunity to witness what was nothing short of a shining example of discipline, which should make every Bermudian proud. Over the years, I have seen the regiment perform on many occasions and it was always inspirational.

Nothing could erase the pride that brought tears to the eyes of a number of Bermudians, as they watched the regiment band in full military regalia kicking up the dust on the Mall in Washington in 2000, during the Bermuda connection programme. What is often missed is that the men and women who serve spend hours under the watchful eyes of officers who strive for the highest standards.

In the military, officers seldom win popularity contests, as they push recruits to be at their best in whatever they do. It has to be a tough job, but usually in the end the reward is when the public show appreciation for their hard work and the contribution they make to the Bermudian community.

It was in watching the regiment drilling without actually being on parade that showed the type of discipline required to achieve excellence in performing their duties. All of Bermuda should not only share in the unit celebrating 50 years of service to this Island, but there is something essential in old-fashion discipline that remains a guidepost for positive living.

Bermuda will always be a better place with respect for discipline and, without a doubt, the Royal Bermuda Regiment is doing its part to keep discipline and respect alive and well. Nothing is ever perfect, but to strive for the highest standards benefits the entire community.