Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Truth or Consequences

If life had a rulebook, one of the first rules would be that actions have consequences. This is something we learn from the beginning. As a newborn, you cry and someone (hopefully) picks you up, gives you food, changes your diaper, etc. We get older and learn that crying doesn't bring the same result, though many children still try. As we age, we also learn that there are negative consequences to our negative decisions. Case in point, my sons stay out after they are told to be home and they face the wrath of mom. They are also grounded from friends and activities for a week. My sister is great, I think, at giving consequences. She was grounded alot as a teenager, maybe that's why she's more creative now. Recently, her teenage daughter was caught in a lie. Her punishment- she had to move a couple hundred pieces of wood from a pile to make a 'wall' at the back of the yard. When I saw the wall I was impressed. I'll bet she thinks about that every time she's in the back yard. That's a good consequence.

I started thinking about consequences when I was listening to a radio show this morning. They were discussing the whole David Letterman fiasco. The DJ's were talking about how mad his wife must be (ya' think?) and how his marriage probably won't survive. Then, to my shock and horror, one of them suggested that Mr. Letterman should've just paid off the guy that was blackmailing him because the 2 million he wanted would be a lot cheaper than what he'll have to pay his wife if they divorce. WHAT?!?!? If I'd been home and not in my car, I would've called in. I mean, really! It would've been better if he'd paid off the blackmailer and kept the whole thing a secret from his wife? The world seems to have this notion that it's ok to break the rules as long as you don't get caught. Then, if you do, you simply 'pay the price'. I remember a basketball player a few years ago that got caught in an affair, and he simply bought his wife a HUGE diamond ring. The consequences go much deeper than the money David Letterman might have to pay in alimony. The hurt and betrayal felt by his wife and child are results that can't be erased by any dollar amount. I don't watch his show, but have seen some clips of what he's said about it. Seems like he's sorry, but I'm not sure if it's sorrow for the pain or just for not getting away with it. Maybe we should have a consequence list for people like that. Some things that would make them think before doing it again. Moving several hundred pieces of wood might do some good for Mr. Letterman, or maybe he should write an essay about why what he did was wrong (a suggestion of a friend). If you want to leave a comment, tell me about a consequence that either you received or you've given your kids. I'd love to hear about it!

4 comments:

  1. I love "Hard Labor". The kids break the rules, they do 10 minutes of Hard Labor. The labor is up to mom and her mood...cleaning the basement, scrubbing the bathroom, washing the floor in a 2x2 foot radius, carrying loads of stuff from food storage, then move it back to food storage, weeding, etc.

    BTW, I come from Sarah's blog and love to read what you write. Bring on the consequences!

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  2. I'm not the greatest at consequences -- BUT I was given a great one one time. Not to tell the WHOLE story -- but I came home late one night, reeeeeeaaaly late and let's just say I couldn't think very clearly when I got there. My poor Mom had been waiting up for me, met me at the door, disgustedly put me in bed and happily woke me at 7 AM. (remember I said I came home late -- yeah, it wasn't but a few hours before 7) ANYWAY, the next day was Sunday and I had to make all three meals (including dinner for the missionaries0, go to church, stay awake ALL day (that in an of itself is torchure to a teenager on Sunday) and do all dishes. Let me tell you --- by nightfall, I was SAD I'd messed up. My friend who was with me, yeah, she got grounded for 6 weeks --- only to get caught and grounded again for sneaking out during those six week.

    That was long :) but I'd say my consequence was remembered a LOT longer than hers.

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  3. When my kids fight, I make them sit down together at the kitchen table and write sentences: "I (full name) will not fight with my sisters." How many times depends on how tired of the fight I am - but got up to 125 times once. If they miss one, spell something wrong, or it is in bad handwriting, they have to do it over. Then, they have to shred it. The point is that the time and energy that they put into writing those sentences is just as wasted as the energy they put into the fight. The positive - helps with spelling and handwriting, and keeps them busy for a long time. They hardly ever fight anymore. :)

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  4. Grounding has never really been effective at our house for two reasons. First, I forget they're grounded and second, my kids don't care. They'll just get a book and wait till I forget!
    One thing that really works is to take away priviledges (cell phone, TV, games etc) AND extra duties around the house. Oh! And my favorite!! SHOW UP AT SCHOOL!! They absolutely love it when you do that!!!! "You wanna act like a little child, I'll treat you like a little child." Be sure to wave at all the friends and try to hold the childs hand. It's humorous for us and torture for them. It's a win win situation. I think Steven Covey would be proud!

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