Adult skills are like a rug. Different pieces of skill or talent, woven together, make a person useful.
Different life-skills make each of us useful, in different ways.
One important adult-skill is understanding 'cause-and-effect'.
Nevin Dweller once said to Doc Watkins, “Doc, it hurts when I do this.” (holding his arm straight up)
The doctor said, “Well then Nevin, don’t do that!”
Cause-and-effect is the most important part of medicine, and is very important in all parts of life.
Cause-and-effect is a key part of measuring. It deserves its own chapter.
See the flashlight chart at the top of the page? People who work on machines, and people who take care of babies,
know that when something goes wrong, there is a usually a reason for it. There is a cause-and-effect.
Both Mr. and Mrs. Higgins received flashlights in 1915, for when they needed to get up at night to look after a problem.
Flashlights were safer than kerosene lamps, though the batteries were pricey. The County Board thought they were worth the cost, given the possibilities of cause-and-effect with kerosene lamps and fire.
But Mrs. Higgins had to keep her flashlight hidden from Sweet Annetta. You know why.
The Supervisors used cause-and-effect to make the decision, and it may have prevented a great fire.
Perhaps they remembered the big fire in Red Oak, Iowa in 1910, that burned the Montgomery County Courthouse.
You too, need to use cause-and-effect to be successful. And you already use it regularly.
When you think about the result of taking the last piece of gum off your adult’s dressers,
or pinching your little brother when he is being a real pain, then you are thinking about cause-and-effect.
Good for you!
But sometimes, the cause has another cause in front of it. Imagine this:
An older brother’s car got a flat tire when it ran over a tiny nail; a nail that a good tire would have repelled.
The tires were old and not very thick (tires get thinner as they are driven).
You all knew his tires needed replaced, and he had the money,
but his girlfriend’s birthday was coming up.
He decided to buy her a fancy dinner instead of new tires,
and they got the flat tire on the way to the restaurant.
Your brother’s girlfriend is angry and embarrassed to be sitting in a car with a flat tire on her birthday.
This little story has an effect (flat tire) a cause (a tiny nail and poor tires) and a reason for the cause
(the brother risking many things to impress his girlfriend).
In science, cause-and-effect is pretty predictable, EXCEPT When you put humans into the equation. Then, like with brother’s tires, more problems can arise because the principles of cause-and-effect are ignored.
Opinions and desires and even love doesn’t change the laws of physics.
AANNDD, when cause-and-effect are applied to human relationships, special conditions can change outcomes.
Scaring dad from behind a tree in the afternoon is far different from scaring dad in the hallway at midnight,
When cause-and-effect events are purely human, deciphering motives are critical to successful problem solving.
Wise adults spend some time MEASURING cause-and-effects BEFORE the action, rather than AFTER the event.
Eric J. Rose