Monday, July 14, 2014

Is There a Benefit to Natural Consequences?

I’m not the type of person to get involved with politics on social media. I’d be happy to talk one on one and am not afraid to share my beliefs and opinions, but when it comes to facebook I think a lot can be lost in translation.

That said, last week I jumped on board with a few discussions following the Hobby Lobby decision (I did go to law school after all, and one thing I can’t stand is when people will spout statements as if they are facts when they are actually completely misinformed).

Regardless of my position on the matter, the topic got me thinking and spurred a multi-day conversation with Brandon’s sister and brother-in-law when we visited them over the 4th.

Are we creating a world that allows humans to avoid natural consequences?

Is this a good thing?

Lets think about this in the context of birth control. While there is always some chance (however small it might be), we have essentially reached a place of medical advancement where a women can choose when she wants to conceive.

Many would argue this is a monumentally freeing position. Women can now choose to prevent themselves from getting pregnant while they are single, pursuing an education or career, are in a financially unstable position, or simply don’t desire to become a mother - all without giving up sexual intimacy.

Honestly, I can understand the progress that seems to have been made with the advancements in birth control. A few months ago I was speaking with a social worker friend who commented that the number of adoption placements her agency had made in the last 6 months was drastically lower than that of prior years. When I asked her whether she thought more mothers were making the decision to parent she said she didn’t think so - instead she speculated that the decrease was due to an increase in the availability of birth-control and the morning after pill.

That’s a good thing right? Less “unplanned” pregnancies = progress, right?

Or does it instead play a role in breeding a culture of irresponsibility? Today a woman can seemingly be intimate anytime, anywhere without worrying about the “consequence” of getting pregnant. This is especially worrisome to me with young women and teenagers. Not only has teaching abstinence become faux pas, but we are stripping away any natural obligations of commitment that once accompanied intimacy. When birth control takes away the “risks” of sexual intimacy, what’s to stop casual sex to become as normal and acceptable as kissing? (assuming it hasn’t already)

Let’s try a different example.

Have you seen the cartoon that pictures a classroom from the 1950s and a classroom from today? In the picture from the past the teacher is sitting behind her desk holding up a paper marked with a “D” for the sorrowful student across the desk to see. The student’s parents are standing behind the teacher in support. In the picture of the present the teacher sits behind her desk looking sorrowful while the parents stand with their indignant looking child holding up the “D” paper - seemingly demanding an explanation from the teacher as to how she would dare give their extraordinary child such a poor mark.

While I’m not a teacher, I have heard stories of very similar situations played out by many of my teacher friends. I’ve also heard quite a few parents rant about such “injustice.”

How is this teaching our children to learn and to become hard-working, responsible adults? If parents choose to fight their children’s battles from the beginning, how will they ever learn how to work for something rather than simply expect it because they deserve it just for being them?

Unfortunately I’ve seen this phenomena play out with some of my peers. Upon entering the “real world” they believed they deserved the lifestyle their parents had always provided for them and the praise and commendation at work that they had always received. Instead they found themselves saddled with unnecessary debt from all their “must-haves” and struggling to accept negative feedback in the workplace.

As a child I remember hearing the fable about a world without rules. At first it seems like a wonderful place to be, but then you quickly realize all the pain and suffering that your parents rules protect you from. Could the same concept apply to natural consequences? If we begin to remove natural consequences from our lives or create a culture in which they can easily be avoided are we really improving our society or are we just degrading it?

1 comment:

  1. I do think there is a benefit to natural consequences--that they can be very educational. It's like how you hear stories from the parents of yesteryear about how when their kids accidentally broke something that belonged to someone else, they had their kids work to earn the money to pay for a replacement. In these days, I have personal experience with parents of my own generation (probably a few years older than me) whose kids, being kids, accidentally break something that belongs to someone else, and they aren't reprimanded and neither the parent nor the child thinks that they ought to purchase a replacement. Instead, they say, "Oh, it was just an accident" as if the non-intentionality means that therefore, there should be no consequences, and they miss an opportunity to have their kids experience paying restitution.