In our home, we use the terms "discipline" and "consequences" rather than "punishment" and "reward". Discipline means to teach, and every interaction we have with our children is an opportunity to teach them something. We could be teaching something as simple as the fact we value them above our own desires by playing with them before we accomplish our tasks. We could be teaching life and fiscal responsibility when we talk about saving money and budgeting. Further, when we ask them to do chores, and understand hard work is valuable.
Consequences are results of our actions. We can perceive them as bad or good, but they are simply the result of a choice. I wore the right shoes, so I don't have wet socks. Or, I am cold because I didn't wear a jacket like Mom suggested. Obviously, those examples involve only one person. The consequence involves only that person too. We make choices each day that affect others, though. And we need to think about those as well.
We are currently in a strange time, during which nothing is secure. Our health and well-being are challenged at every turn. Our physical and mental health are suffering right now on a global scale. The picture above is a hike I took my kids on into the woods so we could enjoy sun and fresh air last week.
This week, I started a retail job because of a paycut my husband had to take. Paycut led to my starting a retail job leads to less time with my kids and fewer hikes. The job may also lead to me bringing illness into our home. Those are the obvious consequences. Some less obvious ones are those that relate to our mental health. My husband, Leigh, is working from home AND monitoring and assisting with kids' home schooling. This is taking a toll on him as he is not accustomed to doing both. The kids' schooling is less intense, and they are glad for that I'm sure, but they may plateau in their learning. They are all far ahead and won't lose anything, so this is not a huge issue.
In the last six weeks, we have all become more aware of the consequences our actions have on others. We are feeling the weight of the world as adults trying to navigate the fear of not being able to grocery shop because we aren't safe in stores; we don't have money; we can't take kids, but there is no one else to look after them; there won't be food when we can go. Instability is a burden much of the world is facing right now, and in more than financial ways.
Because we are focused on surviving this pandemic, our ability to otherwise focus is waning. We know how privileged we are in our home--there are TWO parents. No one lose a job entirely. We didn't lose school. We still have the capacity to parent and help our children learn through this chaos. They are learning different lessons and in new ways, but they are still safe and healthy.
We had the opportunity to talk about consequences with Mack and Will this morning. We stressed to them to consider the consequences they desire and make choices that will result in those coming to fruition. Right now, we want to keep our family afloat and help others while remaining healthy. We are making choices to only to open air activities that keep us well away from other families. We choose that only I go out to stores and only for essential items. We choose for me to work to relieve the financial burden of maintaining our already meager lifestyle. Honestly, we might even be able to pull ahead a bit, and have some expendable income to help small businesses that are suffering right now.
We have considered the consequences we want to see and are working toward those goals. What are your desired consequences from the time we're currently enduring? How can you achieve them? How can I support you in doing so?