Teaching to Learn and Learning to Teach

Teach There Are Consequences
July 10, 2009, 5:38 am
Filed under: Discipleship, Discipline, Parenting, role models, Uncategorized
This post on Randy Alcorn’s blog speaks about the consequences of sexual immorality. He and one of his friends developed personalized lists of  consequences that would result from sexual immorality. The lists act as a deterrent. He writes of their useful, effective nature stating, “The lists were devastating, and to us they spoke more powerfully than any sermon or article on the subject.”
I thought this was an interesting article. It made me think of the most important lesson my parents ever taught me. They taught me a lot. I have amazing teachers for parents, the kind that tell you they want you to redo your homework even when you tell them your teacher doesn’t care and the kind that tell you when you call home your first semester away at college thinking you are failing your classes that it is ok as long as you are learning. They taught me that there were consequences for my actions and that I couldn’t choose the consequences. Parents now-a-days (OK… now I officially sound like a Grandma, when I am only 25) want to save their children from consequences. I understand that; as a teacher it pained me to take away the things my students loved even when they were bad. The problems with saving people from consequences are that consequences are  great deterrents, useful discipline, and a natural part of life. What is the consequence of sticking your hand in a flame? You will get burned. What is the consequence for jumping out of a plane that is hundreds of feet in the air without a shoot? You will die. Often as thick-headed humans, we learn in the school of pain and suffering. You can’t save students from that, and you don’t want to; it is useful. If the consequence of doing all your corrections means you get 5% extra-credit on your test – some students will necessarily learn to do their corrections. Most students, however, learn the hard way. If they know the test will be difficult and not studying will result in an F which will be followed by removal of all cell phone and facebook privileges, they will study. DING DING DING. The parents and the teacher successfully taught the student that there were consequences and by so doing taught the student much more. The student learned the information for the test, their work ethic grew,  they learned how to make choices with positive consequences, and they learned to consider consequences before acting.
My parents taught me consequences in many ways. They allowed me to reap what I sowed. They punished me when I did wrong. They made their expectations clear and there was always a consequence when I didn’t meet them. They were consistent in their punishment. I didn’t control them. When I would throw a temper-tantrum every night before bed. My mom would march me upstairs for a spanking. Every night I would cry and beg and tell her I would never do it again, but every night I got the spanking and I wondered why she didn’t believe me (even though I did it all the time). I learned that I couldn’t control what happened. There was an effect for my actions and I couldn’t always get out of it or undo it. When I hit   and college as an unregenerate sinner, there were many things I wanted to do that were dangerous and sinful. I had no desire to please God and my idolatrous heart was full of wrong lusts and desires. God used my faithful parents to save me from so much sin and baggage before I was a believer. I stayed away from a lot of things because I knew I couldn’t predict or control the outcome and I knew there would be severe, possibly life-long consequences as a result of that choice or action. I praise God that my parents didn’t choose what was convenient or comfortable for them, but rather chose God-glorifying, consistent, faithful, and strenuous discipline, molding, and teaching for both me and my brothers.

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