Sunday, November 8, 2015

Understanding Consequences

It dawned on me one day that prisoners in jail and college students with excessive debt share something in common:  they both failed to think through the consequences of their actions.  A prisoner sitting in jail serving a long sentence for selling crack cocaine found no deterrence in that long sentence because he did not think about the consequences of this actions.  A college graduate burdened with a horribly large college loan did not think about the consequences of borrowing so much money.

Our society is suffering because too many of our children cannot figure out the consequences of their actions.   We can protect our children from serious mistakes if we can teach them to think about the consequences of their actions.  We parents have to teach our children how to think through the consequences of their actions.

I look for teaching moments in life.  They can be simple events.  Driving down the road one day while my son was in elementary school I asked him to figure out the cost of our road trip.  I walked him through the calculations with miles-per-gallon for the car, price of gas per gallon, and the miles driven.  We did rounding for the numbers and he did the calculations in his head.  He could do that because he had learned is math facts.  Another day I pointed out to my son how another boy he knew was pushing a baby carriage down the street.  The consequences for that boy of making a baby too early in life was being forced to quit college to work for child support.  Our actions have consequences and we parents need to impress that lesson onto our children.

The most important lessons our children need will come from us parents, not from teachers in their schools.  Thinking through the consequences of actions is a vital lesson for our children.