natural consequences

Maggie learned a valuable lesson the other day.  She learned what a natural consequence is.  She wouldn’t be able to tell you what “natural consequence” means, mind you, but ask her if she knows what happens when you throw pea gravel down the basement stairs.  She knows all about it.

It wasn’t the first time she threw pea gravel down the cement stairs leading to the basement.  I sincerely hope it will be the last.  But not because I said so, but because she now knows what it takes to remove said pea gravel from the basement stairs.

Her throwing the gravel, and me complaining while cleaning it out was not getting the point across.  But her throwing the gravel and HER cleaning it out made a completely different point.

The big deal here is simple.  If you have been reading this blog for awhile you may remember the basement flood story.  The basement stairs on the outside of the house have a french drain that runs to a sump pump in our basement.  Leaves clogged the drain before and the basement flooded.  Gravel can’t be good for that situation.  Not to mention gravel in the sump pump.  Flooding basements and malfunctioning sump pumps are things that can ruin my day.  Gravel down the stairs sent chills up my spine.

She’s four.  But she’s a wise four.  Picking up pea gravel is much more suited to her size than mine.  Learning the lesson is invaluable.  It took her almost an hour to pick it all up.  I helped after about the first 20 minutes when it was clear she was making a valiant effort.  But I only helped for a few minutes and then tended to her brother.  She did 80% of the work and that was important. 

The best part, other than she hasn’t been a repeat offender since, is when my husband came home and she bragged that she had cleaned all the pea gravel up by herself.  I cleared my throat and she admitted “well, mommy helped a little bit, but I did most of it!”  She was thrilled with herself.  The fact that she came away from a mistake having learned and being proud of herself is a wonderful thing to me.


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