To respond is to answer. To be responsible is to be answerable or accountable. We are each responsible for the kind of person we choose to be. Responsibility is about learning to direct our will and self-power. It is the ability to manage our actions and behavior, and to be accountable for our own choices. When we are responsible, we do all we can to contribute in positive ways and to work on becoming the best we can be. Responsibility is accountability in action. Being responsible is a sign of maturity, self-worth, and independence. Becoming responsible begins with opportunities for practicing it in childhood.
The well-known story of “The Little Red Hen” is a good option for an introductory family chat about the work-aspect of responsibility.
What do you do to help your children learn, live, and lead responsibly?
Here’s what a few parents shared:
“Our children grow up knowing that when they make a mess, they clean up after themselves. Everybody is responsible to contribute to the well-being of our family. Everybody has jobs and chores to do. We often work and learn together. We try to make it fun, and hope our children gain the satisfaction and joy of a job well done.”
“We set the bar very high. Our children know that we have high expectations for them. We help them make goals that require them to stretch and grow and gain confidence in their own abilities and talents. Our high expectations help them to take ownership of their choices and actions. In our family, music, theater, dancing, and athletics are favorites. The children consistently practice, make mistakes, learn new things, and work hard. If they want to get really good at what they love–it’s up to them to learn and do whatever it takes. My wife and I often praise them for their efforts.”
“Developing character and virtue is important to us. We teach personal responsibility by practicing our core values–being honest, keeping commitments, being polite and considerate of others, self-governing, learning from our mistakes, completing our work before play, obeying rules, apologizing and forgiving often, and by supporting each other through times of difficulty and achievement.”
We are responsible for ourselves, each other, and the world around us.
When we act responsibly…
We do the things we need to do, when they need to be done.
We give our personal best effort.
We make good choices.
We hold ourselves accountable for our actions and choices, and
We are accountable for our learning journey.
We take care of ourselves, and those around us.
We take care of our duties, and chores.
We take care of our personal possessions and our surroundings.
We plan and prepare ahead.
We are dependable.
We show and express appreciation.
We ask for help when we need it.
We speak up and stand up for what is fair, right, and kind.