Posted by: cmittermeier | February 21, 2012

Natural Law has delayed consequences

My boys are school age, they are in prime training stage.  I know my boys would prefer I don’t force them to do stuff, but they respond well to immediate consequences of inaction.  By this I mean, “what toy are you going to loose if this isn’t put away in the next 5 minutes?” works.  Yes, I am consistent and I follow through – even my nephews know Aunty doesn’t bluff.  By the teen years, that isn’t too easy to do, in those years the teen has to figure out how to motivate themselves without immediate shepparding from mom and dad.

The mechanics of consequences for teens will be harder for me to navigate.  It took me decades to learn things because the consequences were so far removed.  As an adult, the natural consequence of dropping my towel on the floor – moldy smelly towel – is more than enough to get me to hang it up in just such a way that it dries nicely.  As a teen?  Who cares, I’ll just get another from the closet… just makes the load of laundry fuller faster.  The extra cost of running the machines, of laundry soap, meaningless.

As teens, we are spared the full implications of many of our actions.  As I thought about it more, I realized our health is much the same way.  I want to write a really nice article on the natural santification of aging, this is a piece of that thinking.  You see, one can of pop does not add 15 pounds to a persons frame.  One can of pop everyday for a year does.  We do not see the implications of being 30 pounds overweight when we are teenagers, but twenty years later.  It is as if God set things up so we have the maximum amount of time to get our lives in order, but the longer we go the stronger the ‘tap tap tap’ becomes as consquences go from ‘you’ll look prettier’ to ‘you’re at risk of a heart attack’.

When the motivation is light, like looking good in a two piece bathing suit, the hard part is the motivation.   Change is generally easy at that stage.  We all know how easy it was to loose weight as a teen.  In another context, if you started saving for your retirement at 20, you don’t need to set aside anywhere near the amount you do later!  Its the motivation that’s hard then.

As you get older, the consequences begin to build, and at the same time, the ability to change them gets harder.  The stronger the motivation, the easier it is to change – so to keep us working hard, God slows our bodies around so that we have to work harder.  We have to do more than we did back as a teenager.

So, I’ve discovered that the longer the time between action and consequence, the easier it is to change!  Now, uh, if only I had understand that well enough twenty years ago and saved myself all this stuff.  Mind you, then I wouldn’t have figured this all out.



  1. some one put it this way: you spend the first 30 years of your life sowing and the next 30 years reaping what you have sowed.

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