Newspaper article The Daily Mercury (Mackay, Australia)

In Facing Consequences

Newspaper article The Daily Mercury (Mackay, Australia)

In Facing Consequences

Article excerpt

Chris Sarra


CONSEQUENCES - without them our families and our societies would be chaotic. They are metaphorical signposts signalling what will happen if we choose one way to behave or another.

One of my most salient reflections on the notion of consequences occurred for me in the back of our XB Ford Falcon when I was just 13. We were on a drive to the bush for the day and my mum was ever steady at the wheel.

My sister was enjoying the luxury of being in front while I was in the back with my brother, aka sparring partner, who was just a year older than me.

I have no idea what we were fighting about, or whether we were throwing punches as if that would resolve things, but it was enough to make our mum grumpy.

"If you boys keep fighting I'll stop this bloody car and you can get out and walk!"

There it was! She laid out the consequence clearly and succinctly. If you choose "this" way to behave, "this" will happen. It was a pretty straightforward formula and very easy to understand, even for two hormone-infested adolescent boys. Still we kept fighting.

"Gorn then! Keep it up and you'll be walking home directly!"

By this stage we were some 14 kilometres out of town and I guess we thought there was no way Mum would be so cruel and leave us out here in the middle of nowhere. Still we kept fighting.

Hang on a minute! Why is the car pulling up to the side of the road out here?

"Gorn youse two wasters. Get out! I told you! You wanna keep fighting you can bloody well walk home! Now get!"

We jumped out of the car with a sense of disbelief as the car disappeared into the distance. Surely she will turn around soon. At the side of the road I think it was our shared realisation that she was gone and not turning back which finally caused us to stop fighting. There was only one thing left to do: walk all the way home.

For the record, I got home first. I never received a flash trophy for my efforts but I did get an extremely valuable lesson about consequences, both as a child and now as a parent. …

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