Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Consequences to Our Choices

"I wish his girlfriend would DIE." My girl's indignation over perceived offenses was real.

"Oh no, sweetie," I admonished gently. "We don't say things like that about people. That's a pretty harsh thing to wish on someone. Everyone chooses badly sometimes, and we can afford to have compassion for people when they do."

"But, it's not fair..." she complained.

"Maybe it's not fair," I conceded.  "But... sometimes consequences aren't.  Everything we choose to do... both the good things and the bad things...  our choices have consequences.  Sometimes they're consequences that other people have to pay, sometimes they're consequences that we have to pay.  But... it's important to understand that consequences are the results of our choices. Sometimes they're consequences that we like, sometimes they aren't. Something they even seem really unfair.

"I think that consequences are there to teach us things.  Sometimes they teach us to make that choice again. Sometimes they teach us to not ever ever make that choice again. But they're lessons for us to learn.

"And it can be a hard thing when people we love have to pay consequences for their choices. Sometimes we want to interfere, we want to take their consequences on our own shoulders, pay them for them.

"But, when we do that, we take away their ability to learn the lessons. We steal wisdom from the people that we love most. Even when it's hard, it's wrong to rush in and fix it all. That's why I don't do your homework for you, even when you're behind. I think it's best, in those situations, to just walk quietly beside those we care about, to be there for them, to listen to them when they need an ear, to hold their hand. We can help them shoulder their consequences... but if we try to do it for them, then they lose in the long run.

"And because we love them... so do we."

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