The Lessons Of Consequences For Business People & 11-Year-Olds

Take the time to plan for your child's future.

Upromise: Take the time to plan for your child’s future.
Early into my marriage, my stepson, who was about 11 at the time, did two things that 11-year-old boys do pretty frequently: did something dumb enough to get himself grounded when he eventually got caught, and ratted himself out under the assumption he could guilt his mother into going easy on him.

But I wasn’t having it. The two foolish acts of the 11-year old was just too blatant to let go, despite and pressure I knew he was going to toss his grandmother’s way to pressure us to him off easy. he was grounded as soon as we got home (we were about 15 minutes away from a Christmas party for my wife’s job and we had one of her co-workers riding with us, so there was literally no turning back), with the major consequence being the ‘super fun activity’ planed for the next day (I have no recollection of what the actual activity was) was definitely canceled.

Having parents with the annoying habit of punishing me when I did something wrong, I was prepared to be the bad guy. And I was, to my new wife, who was so hyped up on whatever we were going to do the next day she didn’t want to ground her son at all, at least not until after we had finished.

The lesson I wanted to teach my stepson that went over his head as I battled with his mother is that all actions have consequences, and as bad as most of the consequences may seem, once you deal with them, there gone. As long as you don’t repeat the situation that got you in trouble in the first place, your chances of avoiding similar consequences are extremely high.

The lesson I wasn’t trying to teach my wife that went over her head as I battled with her was that plans change, and sometimes pretty quickly. When those plans change, it doesn’t matter how much you have vested in current plan of action, if the plan is no longer valid. My stepson had ruined the chance for fun for himself AND the rest of the family by messing up, and looking the other way would just reinforce his bad behavior as valid.

I’m sure there are similar instances that have occurred in your personal live, made much more obvious if you are raising kids at home. I’m also sure that if you think about it, you can find similar instances around the job.

Missed deadlines and sales projections are more common than they should be in today’s business place. While they might just be used as guideline and aren’t considered ‘that important,’ why even have them if you’re not at least giving some weighted consideration them? If you’re taking the time to put a plan in place, and you see the plan isn’t going to work, take the time to come up with another plan. If you’re seeing people missing the mark because they know there is no consequence for not trying, add some sort of consequence (not punishment).

The lesson I ended up learning as I battled with my wife over the immediate punishment of my stepson was to stand my ground, since both my wife and I knew the right thing to do was to cancel the fun because my stepson had done quite a bit to un-earn the rights to have fun in the span of his ten minute confessional. I learned to not be upset with my wife for being disappointed and upset, but having my parents teach me my since of right and wrong wasn’t just a way to pass the time until they could kick me out of the house at 18. It was the basis for the life skills I now have the honor and privilege of teaching my stepson, so that when his 11-year-old kids and his subordinates at work starts mouthing off (and we all know that BOTH will), he’ll have the mechanisms in place to properly handle the situation. If he fails to do so, well, there will of course be consequences.


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