Day 78 (of 183) punishment vs consequence vs re-earning something; aka don’t cancel christmas
Today one of the situations happened that I hate. A kid made a mistake that led to something that he was looking forward to being cancelled. The dilemma was the thinking around, was it something that would be ‘gone forever’ or was it something that could be ‘re-earned’. When he felt the consequence was going to be
In my own practice, there have been a few things I “always” do (except when I forget). Such as:
Counting to 0 (I may start at 5, 3 whatever, but the end number is always consistent – whereas counting “up” can lead to 2 1/2, 2 3/4 etc)
Just because you “lost something” (recess) you can always (ALWAYS) earn it back. Making things right is important to me.
Being mindful that sometimes the importance of an event isn’t clear – what some see as ‘minor’ may be very significant in ways we can’t fully understand.
But…today’s dilemma: what happens when a student “is used to” waiting out the consequence to “get their own way” (even if ‘their own way’ isn’t exactly what they necessarily really want). Should they be able to distract, delay and then complete a needed/avoided task to then re-earn what was lost? Or is it a “learned lesson” that once a promised activity is taken away it’s gone forever.
Sigh. It’s so hard to have “one size fits all” solutions when each students situation is so unique.
But…I feel that we should never “cancel” something that shouldn’t be cancelled – thus the saying “don’t cancel christmas”. If you’re not “going to turn the car around this instant”, don’t threaten/promise it. If you’re not really going to “leave the store this minute if you don’t ___” then don’t say it. That being said, in the heat of the moment, even when I know better, I’ve cancelled Christmas (metaphorically). Which is why I try to always enable the opportunity to make things righter and re-focus on your goal!
I think it’s okay to admit to ‘over reacting’ or ‘delaying judgement’ until in a calmer mindset. I think it’s okay to treat each student differently (heard a superintendent talk about a scenario where 3 kids were caught ‘being bad’ at the same time but the consequence was different for all three). I think it’s important that we need to stay focused on the issue and not get distracted (most common: name calling and insults – I’ve ignored some rather nasty language and likely will do the same again…and again). I think it’s important to be in the right frame of mind when dealing with whether a consequence, punishment or ‘other’ is needed…..not always what is wanted….and sometimes a third chance is what may be needed.