The Gift of Consequences

My world seems to be a blaring example of consequences. You stay up too late, you sleep in too long…you are late for a meeting, you miss an opportunity to meet the people sitting next to you…you let your daughter play with your lipgloss, she eats it…you forget to bring your books to the library, you pay a fine… But there are good consequences in my life too…you stop by the Farmer’s Market, you get fresh fruit…you finish your business plan, you can email it to an investor…you go on a walk, you get fresh air…you clean your sink, you don’t have dishes stacked up. When you realize that natural consequences help you to learn and progress, then you see life teaching you always. I’m grateful for consequences.

But sometimes consequences are difficult to deal with, for example:

This week my son punched someone (for the second time) and made his nose bleed. This was very traumatic for me as a mom because last week this happened at school and I thought we had handled it and he would not do it again. This time around I thought, “What am I doing wrong?” I wanted to learn and be a better teacher to my son.

The gift of the situation was that the babysitter called me and told me so I had time to think about it before seeing him. I called my husband’s grandma who raised 10 respectable children and certainly disciplines with love and understanding. She said, “Seek first to understand the situation. Ask him what provoked it.” Then have him make restitution.” So, when I saw my son we talked about it and he said, “I don’t know. I was so mad at myself, I hit him.” Anger expression issue…we will address how to handle and express emotion with an emotional release therapist and color out his feelings. I helped him write a note of apology and he drew hearts all over it. We talked about proper behavior (again) and then I just hoped he could learn from the experience.

The very next day he came home from school with blood all over HIS shirt and had had a bloody nose from falling on the tire swing. It surprised me so much, since now he knows what it is like to get a bloody nose. I know I shouldn’t be glad that this happened, but maybe having the blood all over his shirt all day made him think about how it feels to get a bloody nose…and help him to overcome his weakness.

I don’t punch people in the nose, but I have punched a few people in the heart emotionally by saying the wrong thing and being insensitive. The natural consequence of offending someone is that either you repair the damage and apologize or the relationship changes and or dissolves. Hopefully there is apologies and forgiveness. It is so hard to admit you are wrong and seek forgiveness, but it is absolutely necessary. Both people need love and healing. I am grateful for the times when I was brave enough to apologize and for those who have given me forgiveness. Forgiveness is also very hard to do, but without it, it is difficult to move on. I know what it feels like to get “punched” emotionally and I don’t want to cause that kind of pain to anyone. When I seek to understand what happened to ME and why I did what I did and how THEY felt, and see what happened as a result, things are more clear.

Today’s Magic Wand:

It’s always great to take my Grandma’s advice, “seek first to understand” it will help you with all of the good, the bad, and the ugly of life’s consequences.

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