Replay: The Law of Unintended Consequences

The other day, my oldest son did
something wrong and I had to rebuke him sharply and immediately with a stern
rebuke. The following day, he reported me to his mum, “Mummy, the place that
daddy slapped me the other day is still paining me o.” Later in the night, my
wife interrogated me. “So, you slapped your son?” To which I replied, “Yes I
did and I will repeat it again if I have to.” “Well, your son said he is having
ear-pain on the side of the face where you slapped him.” “Hmm, but I never envisaged that ear-pain
could result from my “dirty-slap”. Forgive me friends. I never contemplated
that the “dirty-slap” could result in ear pain.

What did the boy do? He was
eating in the church not long after we resumed the Sunday service before the
commencement of the message delivered by the Sunday-School teacher. His mum had
earlier stopped him from having his breakfast that morning, insisting that all
the adults in the house ought to be able to go for the church service and
return home (around mid-day) before having their first meal of the day. You can
call it fasting or otherwise. Also, on other occasions, I had previously warned
him against eating or chewing his mouth in the church during church services.

The pain in the ear subsided not
long afterwards and all is now well with my boy. While it lasted, was I
concerned for the chap’s ear and the pain resulting from the slap he received
from me? Sure I did. Well, all is well that ends well. Thanks be to God. Yes, I
can hear you saying, “Hey, Chris take it easy next time.” Sure, I will.

This chain of events and their
aftermath set me thinking of *our actions,
the consequences of our actions as well as the unintended consequences of our
actions. *OK reader; just follow the train of events. You get what I mean? I
then reason about the unintended consequences that usually result from the
actions we take. I am not a philosopher, but I thought about it long and deep. May be I have come across *the law of unintended consequences* before, but I cannot remember
exactly where. I then decided to google the term *– the law of unintended consequences*. And sure as can be, a flood
of essays and writings began to surface – millions of them. You can read the
essay – [Unintended
Consequences](http://www.econlib.org/library/Enc/UnintendedConsequences.html) by Rob Norton in the
online Concise Encyclopaedia of Economics. Also, you can read the essay [What is Seen and
What is Not Seen](http://www.econlib.org/library/Bastiat/basEss1.html) by Frederic Bastiat.

So friends, let us always think
of the consequences of our actions and choices, because there is a law called
the law of unintended consequences. According to Stephen Covey, “you cannot
take up one end of a stick without taking up the other end as well.”

Agreed, we already know that, but
how often do we remember it?

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