A certain blog post has inspired several other blog posts. This is one of them (the third one, to be precise).
When it comes to life, there are consequences for our words and actions. Many of these consequences are societal and are codified within our laws, which are then enforced by our legal system.
But there are plenty of other perfectly legal things we human beings do and say that also have consequences. These consequences are natural, arising from the situation itself. For example, if you run out into the street without looking, you might get run over by a car. It’s not illegal to run out into a street without looking, but it’s certainly not a smart thing to do.
The vast majority of natural consequences for our words and actions are not this dire, but they can be uncomfortable. The more uncomfortable a natural consequence, the better the lesson taught will stick with the person experiencing the consequence. Also, the more a natural consequence matches the original word or action, the better the chance of remembering the situation.
Parents can use the lessons of natural consequences in raising their children to good effect.
Another example: For months, we kept asking Eldest Son when college entrance exams (SAT, ACT) were going to be scheduled and how much they would cost so that we could get him signed up for whichever one he needed to take within a decent amount of time. Eldest Son dragged his feet on letting us know – until we were past the regular registration date for the test he needed. It was a mad scramble for us to help get him registered long-distance, on top of which we had to pay a late fee. When I discussed this situation with my co-worker, she came up with a brilliant idea: Make Eldest Son pay the late fee.
That’s an appropriate natural consequence. Hopefully, after having to pay the late fee, Eldest Son will pay more attention to deadlines in the future.
I found another great example of natural consequences via one of Mashable’s tweets: