Choices bring consequences: make a good choice, good things typically happen; make a bad choice and the odds are that the results will bring less than positive results. For me, it is pretty simple math, yet so many people seem to struggle with it.
The best hope for all of us is that we have good mentors and role models who pattern good decision-making, set healthy boundaries to allow us to test our skill at choosing wisely and support us when the outcomes bring disastrous results. At our house, we call that parenting and it was tested yesterday…big time!
My daughter has been struggling with focus. She likes to rush through the important stuff (homework, putting her plethora of “stuff” where it belongs, grooming, chores, etc.) so that she can get to the things she really wants to do. While probably not unusual for an elementary school child, these are the times that form the behaviors for tomorrow, so we tend to ride her pretty hard. Unfortunately, the tried and true methods have not been working so well of late.
The straw broke the camel’s back when she somehow decided that lounging on the chaise in the master bedroom, having an after-school snack of popcorn and oranges (“at least it was a healthy choice!” she pleaded in her own defense) to watch TV was more important than the chores she had been assigned by her babysitter. Clean laundry and things to put away were at her feet. Shoes still on, she lounged like Cleopatra on the chaise, tossing orange peels on my upholstery. To say I blew a “Mommy Gasket” is putting it mildly. Bad Choice…Bad Consequences ahead.
Dear daughter, now banned from the master bedroom, now no longer in possession of her beloved iPad for an indefinite period of time and completely schooled in the already existing rule about no food in bedrooms has had a refresher in the importance of making choices.
After lots of tears, she actually understood the situation: her actions resulted in an outcome she does not like. We talked at bedtime about her need to focus on the things that are important. She agreed it was a problem and, more importantly, that it was creating problems for her with school, at home and her friends.
She, of course, now wants to know when her iPad will be her’s again. The answer “when I no longer have to remind you of the things you need to already have done” is a tough one to grasp. But she does understand.
Having an outrageous life isn’t easy. It requires making good choices more often than we make bad ones. And on those occasions that we make bad ones, and less than thrilling outcomes happen, it takes brushing the dirt off of ourselves, finding the life lesson and moving forward.