With great power comes great responsibility. Well said Spiderman. In this post we will discuss how to teach kids responsibility. Great leaders also have a strong sense of responsibility. Being responsible is hard. We all think being responsible is being a person that can be counted on to follow through on things. While this is true, there is much more to it.
I feel most people are relatively good at doing what other people count on us to do like taking care of our families, doing our jobs to the best of our abilities, and caring for our pets. We also have to remember that being responsible not alone means doing things people count on us to do but also doing what is right.
For example, you see someone getting bullied at school. It is your responsibility to help them. Tell a teacher, tell an adult, or even step in yourself if you feel up to it. If you see a crime being committed, it is your responsibility to report it to the police or find someone else who can. It is our responsibility to be good, upstanding citizens that care about each other.
Another part of responsibility we could all use some work on is owning our mistakes. We all make mistakes. Taking responsibility for your mistakes will help you learn from them and will tell others that you will do your best to improve and not repeat them. Simply saying “I’m sorry” goes a long way. How many of our political leaders take responsibility for their mistakes? Not many, if any. As parents we need to set a better example of taking responsibility for our mistakes.
As I outlined in Part 1 of this series, the 4 steps to teaching kids life skills are: define the word, discuss what the definition means, use examples, and discuss why it is important. If you need more detail on the process, please go back and read Part 1.
Let’s apply the process to responsibility.
- Define the word/topic in words they understand
- Responsibility means “Doing things others count on you to do and accepting blame when making mistakes.”
- During this step, simply have the kids repeat the definition after you 3-5 times. Do this 2-3 times during the week.
- Discuss what the definition means in more detail
- More responsibility, more success: if someone asks you to do something and you do it to the best of your ability, it is likely you will be asked to do more. If every time someone asks you to do something you never do it, or you do it poorly, eventually you will stop being asked. Successful people like doctors, business owners, and engineers have a lot of responsibilities.
- Making mistakes: we all make mistakes. When we do make them, it is important not to hide from them. Admit them. Say you’re sorry. Taking responsibility for your mistakes will help you learn from them and will allow others to maintain trust in you.
- During this step, have the kids repeat the definition after you 3-5 times then have a short discussion on the topics above. Do this 2-3 time during the week.
- Use examples in everyday life
- Example of responsibility in karate: there are many examples of responsibility in karate classes. The instructor has the responsibility of teaching the students to the best of their ability. The students have the responsibility to listen and try their best at all times.
- Example of responsibility at home: some examples of responsibilities at home could be brushing your teeth, cleaning your room, doing your homework, taking out the trash, or anything else your parents expect you to do on your own without being told to do so.
- During this step, have the kids repeat the definition after you 3-5 times then have a short discussion on the topics above. Feel free to replace the examples with ones of your own. Substitute a different activity for karate if they don’t practice karate. Be sure to ask them for an example first before providing yours. Do this 2-3 time during the week.
- Discuss why it is important
- Why is it important to be responsible? Being responsible is important because other people will count on you to do things in order to help them. At some point, you will need someone to do something for you and will likely seek out a responsible person to help you. If you are not responsible, others will not trust you.
- During this step, briefly go over all steps 1-3 before going into this step. Be sure to ask the kids why they think it is important before providing them with the answer. Do this 2-3 times during the week.
Remember, it only takes less than 5 minutes, 2-3 times a week to go through these steps. Feel free to comment or contact me with questions.
Stay tuned for my next post which will be on how to teach kids focus.