Alright, alright… So you can’t stare at thermometers and fried eggs for more than a week at a time. I’ll update already! You may now officially stop harassing me!
When she was finally captured by her mom, she decided she’d like that shoulder-ride after all. The mom put her foot down. She would NOT be getting a fun ride off the beach after the disobedience she’d just demonstrated. This is when the story really caught my attention. While her father tried to call on his wife’s kindness, the wife merely repeated over and over again that actions have consequences, and if the little girl didn’t suffer the consequences of her misbehavior, she’d get the impression that there was nothing wrong with it.
Ask my buddy Mari Ellen: I’m compulsive about the whole “consequences” thing! I wanted to cheer for the mom for holding her ground…right up until she gave in, and a victorious little girl was carried off the beach in style.
Consequences… What’s their value? Learning, that’s what. Let me give you an illustration:
During the first couple days of smacks, it became evident that Corbin, Lydia and Owen had previously not been aware of when they were burping. I’d smack them and they’d look at me like I’d just popped out of a rocket ship, then they’d get this “Oh, yeah–I burped” expression on their faces. After a few days of smacking reminders, all three of them were blessedly releasing only internal burps–mouth closed–which pushed Victorious Me one step closer to having a full blown case of Tyrannical Disorder! Hey, if it works, why stop?
The fact is, those small consequences (trust me, they were painless!) taught my niece and nephews to be aware of their burping, then to control it.
Life is dangerous–and the most dangerous part of life is our propensity to NOT think in terms of potential consequences. From driving too fast to eating too much to staying up too late to getting into too much debt… One of my favorite sites in Washington DC was the following picture. These tobacco plants were part of the garden surrounding a Native American museum near the Capital. Isn’t it ironic that right in the middle of those TOBACCO plants was a sign warning of consequences?
One more thing about consequences: they aren’t always for our own good. Sometimes they’re for the good of others. How many of us have been the victims of the sin of those around us? How many of us have been the ones to suffer from the mistakes of others? The secondary consequences of actions are often even more traumatizing because we’ve done nothing to deserve them. The rape victim who suffers deep emotional turmoil because her attacker sinned. The child who grows up feeling worthless because his father was never there. In these cases and so many more, those who failed might have gotten off easier than those who received the brunt of their misdeeds. Consider the following picture:
So…..what’s my point?
My point is that I’m no different from that little girl on the beach. I want to be able to misbehave as much as I want and STILL get to ride away on my daddy’s shoulders. But I’ve learned that consequences are not so much the way God punishes us as the way He LOVES us. And by smacking us upside the head when we need it, He hopes we’ll avoid much greater pain–for ourselves and for those we love.
So let’s not try to avoid the consequences of our stupidity. Let’s recognize them, embrace them as God’s gift to us, and put the necessary work into learning what needs to be learned before we commit the same mistake again.
I’m through preaching….really. This should teach you not to tell me to update! I leave you with my love and with a picture of the beauty just down the street from where I sit. Wish I could share it with you in person.