Under the “Character Education” tab on the website of the Arizona Department of Education we can find the following paraphrased statement: In order to make the greatest impact on children today takes caring, consistant modeling of good character by adults and the presence of high expectations for all kids as well.
As we continue to reflect upon those character traits that lead us toward raising and teaching emotionally and mentally healthy children and responsible adults, we cannot leave out the trait of responsibility. This can also be called the “I feel great” trait because when kids learn this at a young age, they become empowered. This empowerment is positive because it leads to self-confidence and a sense of capability which opens the door to endless possibilities for a young person’s future.
Some ways that we can teach young people to be responsible at even preschool ages include these suggestions from www.goodcharacter.com:
Keep promises. The story about how Peter cried “wolf” once too many times is a good example of what happens when we make promises that we either cannot or do not keep.
Don’t blame, or make excuses. Take charge of what you do and your own life.
Don’t rely on others to do what you can do yourself.
Take care to not to talk about something that someone tells you in confidence. Let people know they can count on you.
Use your own good sense before making a decision. Think things through before taking action.
Don’t put things off. When you have a job to do, get it done as soon as possible.
Its important to talk with kids that being responsible does not only mean doing chores, but has a much larger scope. When they learn about all of the ways they can develop this trait and how it will make them “feel great,” they will be much more likely to seek out opportunities to show you how good they are at it.
But remember, adults must work ourselves at being responsibile to catch kids making a responsibile choice and reinforcing it by letting them know how proud it makes you to see them take such positive actions.
Can you think of a time the special kiddo in your life did something very responsible? Reinforce the actions of that young person. Tell us about it.