If a child refuses to eat, a natural consequence is they will eventually feel unpleasantly hungry.
If a child refuses to pick up his/her toys outside, a natural consequence is their toy is stolen or rusts.
If a child plays with a candle's fire, a natural consequence is their finger will be burned.
Often, children experience a natural consequence because they refuse to listen to their parent's warning or obey their instructions.
This happens often in my house. I have a perfect, yet sad, example from just the other day. I've told both Grayden & Cole on countless occasions that the baseball bat is ONLY for hitting a baseball with, and that using it to hit anything else could harm someone else or oneself.
I was making dinner and Cole came running and screaming into the house with blood all over both his hands. It took me a few minutes to figure out where the blood was coming from (all while he was hysterically crying), but eventually I discovered he had a rather viscious bruise on one of his fingernails. It was already black and blood was seeping out from underneath the nail.
While trying to clean up the wound and settle him down, I asked him what happened.
"I was hitting the fallen tree limb with a baseball bat."
From what I can figure, his finger got in between the bat and the limb and took the impact.
Friends, I can't tell you how many times I've told Cole that he cannot use the bat to hit anything else but a ball. Yet, on this occasion he lacked prudence to see danger and experienced a natural consequence as a result...a painfully, hurt finger.
His finger bled for hours.
It is now completely black and is very sore to the touch.
And, he will undoubtedly lose his fingernail eventually.
I do feel sad for him, but I also feel frustrated.
Why couldn't he have just listened to my previous warnings, been prudent, and avoided danger? His lack of prudence, resulted in a rather painful natural consequence.
I do hope he's learned his lesson and that he thinks of this experience the next time he wants or continues to do something foolish and/or dangerous that he knows he shouldn't.
Proverbs 27:12 says:
"The prudent see danger and take refuge, but the simple keep going and suffer for it."
The Hebrew word prudent means to have good judgment and good sense. The Hebrew word simple denotes those who are easily persuaded and who lack judgment, who are immature and naive.
Do you have impulsive children like Cole who lack prudence?
Are they "simple"... easily persuaded (in their own minds or by others) to act foolishly?
Do they lack judgment?
Are they immature and naive when it comes to making right, safe choices?
And as a result, do they suffer from unpleasant natural consequences?
If so, will you join me today and let's pray they mature and gain prudence so that they won't have to experience the pain (physical, emotional, and spiritual) of natural consequences.
I pray You would give my children prudence. I pray they would take refuge in Your very divine, and perfect wisdom. I pray that they would have good, sound judgment when faced with dangerous choices and/or opportunities. May they learn from natural consquences they've already had to experience. And thus grow in maturity and be able to discern when to stop impulsive, unwise actions so as to avoid suffering.