We tell our children over and over about consequences.
In Texas public schools, the ZAP rule exists. “ZAP” is an acronym that stands for “Zeroes Aren’t Permitted.” What happens is that if a child fails to do an assignment, somebody grabs her by the hand and drags her along, standing over her until she has the dreaded assignment finished.
Thus, she never has to suffer the consequences of not doing an assignment. If she doesn’t do the work or learn the lesson, then, she is not hurt by her lack of action. She knows it will be taken care of by some caring aide or teacher; she will have to suffer through some lecturing advice and maybe some threats.
The concept of “consequences,” then, has little meaning for her. If you take a look at quite a number of things in our culture, you can see the same process going on. Some consequences of bad choices are very serious and nasty.
My friend the speech prof and I (the English prof) decided that in our college classes, we also have a ZAP rule:
“Zeroes ARE Permitted.”
We believe in letting students learn through their mistakes because we care deeply about them; truly experiencing consequences is the only real way people learn. Humans by nature are stubborn, hard-headed, independent creatures who believe they know best, whatever the situation.