By Robin Ray
contributing writer 

The intelligence of natural consequences

 

March 18, 2023



There are natural consequences in life. Like when we put our hand on a hot stove we will surely get burnt, or when we step on a kid’s toy with bare feet, it can leave a mark, not to mention it can really hurt! From those two examples we will be more careful when we are near the stove and we will (hopefully) look where we are walking the next time.

We can even look at things that are more severe like when we go over the speed limit in a car. If we get caught, we will have to pay a speeding ticket and then our insurance goes up. Yikes! We don’t want that, so we are more careful with our speed in the future.

Now in this scenario, what might happen if we don’t get caught? Then we don’t get the benefit of the natural consequences. We may feel like, “Yeah I got away with it!” or “Whew, I am so lucky I didn’t get caught.” In either case, since we didn’t get caught, we may feel like it’s okay to continue driving faster in the future. The potential problem could be, the next time if we do get caught, it could cause big problems, cost more money, we may lose our license or worse we get in an accident or go to jail. No, we don’t like consequences (just ask any anyone) but natural consequences give us the option to know what we are getting ourselves into. Once we know what the consequences are, we can choose to do something or not based on that knowledge.

Natural consequences are what we call our “lessons in life.” Those lessons are some of our best teachers. If we think about the times, we have learned from our lessons in life we might even become grateful that we learned them. Basically, that is how we learn how to make an informed decision. We become more intelligent because the process of deciding to do something makes us think first and we become smarter than we used to be. If the opportunity presents itself, we might even pass our lessons on to our children or a friend to help them with their own situations (just ask any parent).

What if we no longer had natural consequences, what would become of us? What if we never learned that doing something bad or wrong would not have any consequences? Moreover, what would happen if we were even rewarded for doing something wrong or bad like getting notoriety, money, fame or power. What would happen to us then?

When someone makes a decision to do something wrong and we can no longer count on the lessons in life from natural consequences, what kind of society will we become? What will take the place of lessons in life? This is certainly something to think about.

 
 

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