When Bad Choices Seem to Work Out Just Fine (at least temporarily)

lds.org

lds.org

Here’s a January sharing time idea.

Choose the Right! It’s the 2017 theme and a timely message for children. As children are beginning to choose which voices to listen to and make their own decisions, being taught to Choose the Right is a strong message at any stage in a child’s development.

At the same time, a child may steal a cookie from the cookie jar and escape undetected. She may convincingly blame a sibling for her own mess and not get in trouble. Or children may see it in others: bullying behavior may go unaddressed week after week, or cheating may result in good grades without deserving it. What happens when poor choices don’t lead to immediate consequences? Children (and adults) may wonder how agency and consequences really works in the real world.

Yes, good choices lead to good consequences, and bad choices lead to bad consequences. But there can be invisible consequences and delayed consequences. Ask children to define invisible consequences (outcomes you can’t see) and delayed consequences (outcomes that don’t happen right away). Back to the stick with “choices” on one end and “consequences” on the other: take a colorful handkerchief and cover over the consequences end of the stick. Ask, “If you can’t see the consequences, are they still there?” (Yes.) Now remove the handkerchief. Raise the choice end really slowly. Ask, “If it takes awhile for the consequences to catch up to you, are the consequences still there?” (Yes.)

Let’s see how this works. You may want to cut the following four situations into wordstrips and discuss each one.

  1. What if you steal a cookie from the cookie jar and nobody notices? You made a bad choice, but you got away with it without consequences, right? No? What are some possible invisible consequences of taking something you’re  not supposed to? (Answers might include feeling bad about it, not having enough cookies for everyone in the family, etc.) What are some possible delayed consequences of taking something you’re not supposed to?  (Answers might include being found out later, not being trusted.)
  2. What if you blame your brother for your own mess to avoid getting in trouble? What if your parents believe your lie and your brother gets in trouble?  What are some possible invisible consequences of saying something that is not true, even no one finds out? (Answers might include feeling bad about it, having your brother be mad at you, etc. God always knows.) What are some possible delayed consequences of taking something you’re not supposed to?  (Answers might include being found out later and getting into double trouble.)
  3. What if someone is mean to others and doesn’t get punished?  What are some possible invisible consequences of being unkind? (Answers might include that the person making mean choices might feel unhappy inside, have no friends, etc.) What are some possible delayed consequences of being unkind?  (Answers might include having others be unkind to you, being punished later, etc.)
  4. What if someone cheats in school and gets good grades without deserving it? What are some possible invisible consequences of cheating? (Answers might include that the person cheating might feel unhappy inside, go on to harder work without understanding the work on the test, etc.) What are some possible delayed consequences of being unkind?  (Answers might include being found out and having all your good grades turn into zeros, etc.)
In God’s plan, no one ever gets away with anything. Sooner or later God will reward everyone according to their works. President Ezra Taft Benson said: “You cannot do wrong and feel right. It is impossible!” (“To ‘the Rising Generation,’” New Era, June 1986, 5). Put the following wordstrip on the board: “Wickedness never was happiness.” (Alma 41:10) Ask the children to repeat it with you a few times, including the reference.
Related songs include:
  • “Choose the Right Way” (Children’s Songbook, 169)
  • “Dare to Do Right” (CS, 158)
  • “I’m Trying to Be Like Jesus” (CS, 78)
CHOOSE the RIGHT – every time!
-Marci
lds.org

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3 Comments

Filed under Bullying, Lesson, Sharing Time

3 responses to “When Bad Choices Seem to Work Out Just Fine (at least temporarily)

  1. Elaine Miles

    Exactly what I was looking for. I like to stand in front of the kids to keep their attention, not stand behind the podium. I can’t wait for sharing time.

  2. Pingback: More ideas: Choices and Agency | Primary in Zion

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