Playwrights and cartoonists understand all decisions have repercussions. The only things that do not know the repercussions of decisions are animals and young children.
Animals survive on instinct. Playwrights are trained to craft repercussions in the most terrible way using the Doctrine of Irrevocable Change:
Every play must end obeying The Doctrine of Irrevocable Change — and that means things can never be the same as they were when the play started. There is no harsher criticism for a play than: “Nothing happened.” When “nothing happens” that means “nothing changed” and that means, “The Doctrine of Irrevocable Change was not honored.”
Crafting Irrevocable Change is a big task for any Playwright because the stakes are so high and hard to reach. The simplest form of Irrevocable Change is a death.
Creating Irrevocable Change that is more subtle, but still as torturous, is the difference between a master Playwright and all the rest.
Children oftentimes never recover from a single bad decision. Young people act without thinking, and sometimes, those bad decisions have hard repercussions far beyond the current, common, boundaries of their lives.
We cannot save young people from bad decisions, but I do wonder if there is a way we can somehow teach them to think through the repercussions of their behaviors before it is too late and there is no going back.
Do we do that by setting up logic puzzles? Do we use scenarios? How can we give them a pinch of reality without the everlasting sting? We can’t have them learn from our mistakes, because that would only teach them to travel down a different path to destruction.
Half a century ago, children chattel and they were “seen and not heard” and their job was to work around the house and listen to their elders and respect their experience. Children learned right and wrong by evaluating the adult discussion around them.
Today, children are left on their own. Their support network is no longer the extended family, but rather friends and street associates, and instead of learning from the wisdom of their elders, our children are alone with their peers — abandoned, really — to fend for themselves in an ever-darkening and harsher world where strangers and the anonymous are more than happy to help them fail and taste the bitter ash of their own, inescapable, repercussions.