One of the biggest challenges I’ve had as an adult is learning about the consequences of my actions. Sometimes, these consequences come because I did something and sometimes because I didn’t act.

In retrospect, I can now see that there’s normally a disconnect between the action or lack of action and the consequences. This mainly happens because a lot of times, there’s a time gap between the two.

When my children were younger, I decided to make consequences a normal part of our life. Since this is not something you can teach, there had to be practical experiences.

Teaching children about consequences…my experience

Years ago when I was a stay-at-home-mum, I ran what we called “Mummy School Bus.” This was our morning commute to and from school. We lived in Langata and the school was just off Ngong Road. It took about 90 minutes for me to drop them at school and get back home.

Now there was one unique thing about this school bus…it left at 6:30am sharp, with or without passengers.

Many times, I left one or both of my children if they dillydallied or were not ready for school. Many a time we left sweaters, jackets, school bags, homework, snacks, sneakers, swimming kits…many things. Some days, one or both went to school without breakfast because they were fussy about what had been prepared that day.

What would I do if I left without both children? I’d go to my favourite early bird cafe and have a cappuccino or latte as I read a novel or journaled. Then I’d go home having filled my emotional well-being cup. Oh, how I loved and miss those times!

Lessons continue beyond Mummy School Bus

My children later begged to be put on the regular school bus which left at 5:30am. When they got onto this, I had a chat with the drivers and informed them never to wait for my children. If they are late then the bus leaves them.

I got caught on the receiving end of this rule and had to chase the bus a few times when I made the children late. Sometimes the drivers would ask me “Mama si ungenipigia simu nikungojee…” (Mum, you could just have called and I wait for you…”).

My response was always the same: If we’re late, we find the bus or I drop them in school. I never wavered on this.

The other problem for my children was that if the regular bus or Mummy School Bus left you, you spent a verrrry boring day at home. There’d be no TV, no gadgets, no Playstation and no toys. The only thing allowed was reading. The rules were also followed to the letter by my very strict househelp.

Consequences stick…years later!

The boys and I were reminiscing about this because they still remember the Mummy School Bus days many years later. We were discussing the way school buses come and wait for children in my neighbourhood. Some of the conductors even leave the bus to go and pick the children from their houses. My son is always shocked when that happens.

Here’s the thing, my children learnt two very important lessons from Mummy School Bus:

  1. The value of time.
  2. The value of consequences.

Today, in their late teens, they are better timekeepers than I am. I never have to worry about them even when they’re travelling on their own because they know that wasting time and being late both have consequences.

Can we go beyond our homes?

If there is one thing I’d want every parent to teach their children, it’s that our actions or lack of actions have consequences.

It’s also important to learn that some of the consequences are unseen right now, but they will have an impact on our lives in the future. This was a hard lesson for me to learn in my adult years!

I’ve also been hearing a lot of complaints about millennials. I’ve taken part in some of these conversations and shared my complaints too.

However, as we complain about millennials today, we also need to look closer home.

What have we taught our own?

Can we proudly stand up and say we’ve done our best as parents, aunties, uncles, grandparents…and as a community?

I have no control over how my children will turn out as adults. There is a point at which they will choose their paths, knowingly or unknowingly. But right now, when they are still in my hands, I choose to do the best that I can. I have to help create the community I want to have, and it starts right here in my home.

One of the ways I choose to do this is by helping my children learn that actions or lack of action both have consequences. It’s not a one-off lesson and there is no end to the class because we too, as adults, have to keep learning the same thing!

That’s my reflection for today. What’s your take? Let’s hear from you in the Comments.

(Image credit: Pixabay)



break free

Dear working mum…

Are there times when you feel as if you have no time for yourself, let alone your children?

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Caroline Gikonyo
Caroline Gikonyo

Caroline Gikonyo is a Life and Business Coach at Biashara 360. She's an avid blogger and also oversees our content creation. This ensures that we give our readers quality and well researched information and tips.

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