Recently my son has done some naughty things. When I asked him why he would do those things, he just said that it seems fun and wanted to give it a try.
I didn’t want to stop my child from accumulating his life experiences through trial and error. However, doing things just because it’s fun might develop into bad habits and a wrong mind setting. So, I took my chance to teach him a lesson the next time he did something rash.
That time he was scribbling on his tent with a crayon. In fact, it wasn’t a big deal, but I took the opportunity to let him think about the consequences of his actions in addition to the “fun”.
I asked him if when he grows up and rides a motorcycle, would he go racing with his friends if they asked him and told him it was fun? He thought for a while and said that he would not go, because racing will result in an accident and might hit someone. I said that that’s right. Some things, although on the surface seems fun, might hurt someone or hurt himself, so he shouldn’t do them.
Then I said that when he meets his classmates just outside of school, he likes to race with his friends to see who can get to the classroom the fastest. I asked him to use my earlier example to think of the situation. He said that he may bump into other students on the road, or crash into someone coming out of the corner. It may also be harmful to others or himself. I told him that that’s right. The fact that he can understand the lesson himself is much more effective than if I just told him not to do something.
Finally, I told him that there is another case to consider in addition to whether or not the action would hurt someone or himself. It is whether or not it would result in waste (either of money, time or other resources), and under such circumstances, he cannot do it just for fun. For example, spraying water seems fun, but that is wasting water. Playing video games is very fun, but it is also a waste of time, money, and will even hurt one’s eyesight.
He understood and told me that scribbling on his tent is the type of action that does not hurt others or himself, but is wasteful. If the tent were unmarked, we could give it away or sell it to people who need it. But because he doodled all over it, we couldn’t give it or sell it to another person and would have to throw it away. That is a form of waste.
I smiled at him and said, “You really understand. The next time you encounter another thing that seems ‘fun’ and want to try it, you should think about it from these three angles. Then, you might know whether to do it or not.”
Think twice before doing something “fun”.
Translation: Ireen Chau