Tuesday, June 6, 2017
Today I am grateful I learned about consequences when I was young. Apparently this is a lesson that escapes many people. These days people in the public and even private sector are making some very questionable choices and then crying “foul” when the consequences jump up to bite them in the ass. Too bad for you. Shoulda learned this reality lesson a long, long time ago.
When my kids were much younger. . .in fact I don’t even know how young, maybe from the high chair. . .I started teaching them about consequences. Throw the bottle at me once, or twice and I’ll give it back. Three times, no more bottle right now. Consequences.
In elementary school you forget your lunch or homework and call me to bring it. If you exhibited a true effort and this is a fluke, I might do it once, or maybe twice. But if you’re in middle school or high school and you’ve been watching TV all night (or these days texting) and sassing back when I ask if your homework is done, then just try to see if I’ll jump through hoops for you. Nope. Consequences.
The same goes with missing the bus in the morning. You can ask our oldest son about this one. Every single day it was a battle to get him up and out. . .well into high school. Then I got therapy and the therapist asked me why I was making HIS problem MY problem. Very good question. So I stopped. “If you can’t get your ass out of bed and you miss the bus it’s not my problem. You’re walking,” I warned him. For a few days his brothers had the bus wait. Then the driver must have gotten therapy, too, because he got a clue and stopped waiting.
I’ll never forget the day said son came back inside and said, “I missed the bus. Driver was early and left without me.” Really? It’s the bus drivers fault?
“Well I hope you have on good shoes because you’re walking,” I said.
“But it’s five miles!” He pleaded his case.
“Then you better get started,” I said, handing him a tardy note to turn in. I didn’t tell him until many years later that I wasted my entire morning following with the car, a half mile behind him just to make sure he really walked to school and didn’t try to skip. He did. He lived. I don’t think he ever missed the bus again. Consequences for him. . .and me for sticking to my guns.
Now a comedian makes a bad choice and is incredulous when no one is cutting her a break. Should her entire career be ruined. I doubt it, because then we’d have to pull the plug on so many others who’ve made tasteless, bad choices. But should there be consequences? You bet.
A bunch of kids get into Harvard and then post questionable stuff on social media. Do they have that right? You bet they do. First amendment, baby. I will defend that right to my death. But will there be consequences for that choice.? Yes, indeed there will. And I defend that decision, too.
I hear that some of their mommies and daddies are pleading the kids cases with a “kids-will-be-kids” defense. Therein lies the problem. I bet they always brought the bottle back, always took the homework or lunch in, always schlepped the kid if they missed the bus. In my opinion they did their kids a huge disservice by not teaching them consequences early on.
When my kids would yammer at me about how they wanted to do this or that questionable thing and why couldn’t they do it, I would say, “You can. You can do absolutely anything in this world that you want to do. . .as long as you are prepared for the consequences.”
Throw your bottle. No more bottle. Consequences.
Forget your homework. Take a hit on your grade. Consequences.
Forget your lunch. Go hungry or eat what they give you. Consequences.
Miss the bus. Walk to school. Consequences
Rob a bank. Go to jail. Consequences.
Hold up a fake bloody head. Lose your job. Consequences
Post garbage on Social Media. Get booted out of Harvard. Consequences.
This is nothing new to some of us who have felt the sting of consequences many, many times. It sure is an old lesson, but it seems a lot of people need to revisit this.