DAY ELEVEN – CHOICE CONSEQUENCE
Over 85% of adolescents believe that consequences can only be negative, undesirable and to be avoided. When I explained that it’s possible to have a good consequence, students thought that was an oxymoron or a contradiction of terms. Consequence is synonymous with result and depending on the choice, the consequence can be either positive and constructive or negative and destructive.
In many instances parents communicate a message or a response that “suffering the consequences” is punishment for making a bad choice. They do not communicate that it’s possible to have a “good” consequence. Parents aren’t alone in this communication as teachers and other adult authority figures beam the same message, consequences are undesirable. Consequences are unavoidable as there is a result for every choice we make. We learn from the choices we make and we can learn in advance for the choices we are yet to make.
One way to learn the choice/consequence relationship is to think of examples of both kinds of choices, good and not so good, and consider the results of those actions, behaviors or choices. By examining our own personal choices there is a greater likelihood for us to internalize the message rather than have someone else provide the example. Every choice in front of us is either in the present or the future and past choices cannot be changed. We can realize that we have greater power to influence the outcome in the next choice. See what we might want to change if we really had an opportunity to do something over again. We can learn something important from this careful, thoughtful review.
In order to change the outcome or at least influence a result which might be more to our liking, it’s important that we consider the options in advance. We might want to review the choices and see what other choices might be available and not limit ourselves to an either/or proposition. There could be a third or even fourth option yet to be considered. One specific example is when someone is faced with a yes or no request, a third option could be to wait and get more information. That could yield a more intelligent choice with a better outcome (consequence) than projected originally.