by Anna Arnett
Today at our annual ANWA convention, Connie Flynn, near the beginning of her excellent presentations on characterization and plotting, talked about choices to be pondered by our characters, and the consequences they might expect as a result of each choice. How did Connie know that was the theme I had already chosen to BLOG about today?
There is one area found in a whole lot of today’s media—books, movies, television, etc.—that especially upsets me: premarital sex. Way too often, when a beautiful girl meets a handsome man, the next scene shows them in bed together. And there are no adverse consequences shown or even hinted!
Perhaps the biggest reason I’m sensitive to this is (as many of you know) for sixteen years I taught Mesa’s school for pregnant students. (For the first two years I was the only 'pregnant' teacher.) During that time I interviewed, admitted, and worked with one thousand, one hundred and eleven different students. A few returned with a second pregnancy before graduation. I loved them all. I found them to be good girls who had made two important decisions: to stay in school, and to carry the baby despite suggestions, even strong persuasions, to abort and forget. Around half of the fathers were no longer in the picture, and others married, little prepared to support her. Most of them—the very young fathers and the mothers-to-be—were simply reaping the consequence of poor choices that put them in very vulnerable positions. Multiply these problems for my sixth and seventh grade students. Yes.
Now, I know there are temptations, and I’m not averse to seeing or reading of them in print, but I do expect the consequences to be at least as graphic as the sin. I’m old fashioned enough to believe the Ten Commandments are still worth following, especially by a so-called “Christian Nation,” which title we still claimed for America, when I was young.
The other side of the picture--filled with beauty--is the joy and contentment that comes through chosing self-control and wisdom.
A decade (or two, or three) ago, I wrote the following poem. I still believe it.
Choose wisely, for the choice is yours.
For every action there is
A built-in-irrevocable consequence.
It may not come immediately,
But it always catches up.
Since you cannot choose one act
And another consequence,
Why not choose the consequence first?
Then you will know
How to act.
Anna Laurene Arnett