I’ve heard several different people commenting on common sense in the last few days. Usually their comments focus on the lack of this important skill, particularly in those in leadership positions. So it has got me thinking…why do so many people lack common sense?
Common sense is defined as sound judgment or the ability to make sensible decisions. Why would this be a problem in our society? In order to make sound judgments, one must have logic skills; one must know "how" to think. One must understand that for every action there is a consequence. That is where I think the problem lies.
In our society we have done a pretty good job of removing consequences. In our schools no child is “left behind” regardless of their efforts. If a child fails to study, they are given a passing grade anyway, so as not to damage their “self-esteem.” If a person refuses to work, the government steps in and provides, food, clothing and shelter for them (I’m not talking about disabled people here.). If a person misuses a given product and is hurt in the process, the manufacturer is blamed for making a “faulty” product. We even have “safe” sex.
Consequences are important. They help us measure the “soundness” of our decisions. But when they are constantly removed from the equation, people become lazy. Instead of thinking through situations and identifying the possible outcomes, they just jump right in; after all nothing “bad” has ever happened before.
If I want my children to have common sense then I need to allow them to experience the consequences for their actions. I need to teach them “how” to think for themselves. I need to let them experience the “pain” to gain the wisdom they need to make sensible decisions.