Maggie’s Thought for the Month: Consequences Build Character

Baby Maggie

Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, ambition inspired, and success achieved. Helen Keller

Maggie was a very wise dog, but she wasn’t always that way. As a puppy, she got into some mischief in the house and yard. Once, I caught her chewing on the wood trim. I firmly said no and walked her away from the area. When she did it again, I firmly said no and walked her away from the area. However, this time, I also took away her favorite toy. After a few moments, I began to play with her, and we practiced a few commands. She was very obedient during this time together. At the end of our ‘session’, I gave her back the toy. The consequence I gave Maggie for chewing the wood trim in the house needed to be repeated a handful of times. After these minimal repetitions, Maggie never chewed the wood trim again.

We are never too young or too old to have consequences for our actions. It is the only way to develop a character in a person that displays kindness, sympathy, commitment,  manners, and most importantly- reflection. If we raise children without ever experiencing a consequence for an inappropriate action, what will they be like as adults?  What type of character are we modeling  to children who watch adults never held accountable for their inappropriate actions.

Maggie was admired by so many visitors to my home because of her good manners, and ‘sense’ that she knew the rules of the home. Shouldn’t we expect the same behavior from humans?

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