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Who is responsible to do this job?

rake leavesAll of us have responsibilities / jobs / chores.  I have thought about how to help our students see that their responsibilities or jobs are just as important as those of their parents.  I have asked them what would happen if parents decided just not to go to work?  or to clean the house? or to drive them to an activity?  They agree that there would be chaos.

What would happen if no one took out the garbage?  did the dishes? brushed their teeth? went to school? fed the dog?

What would happen if teachers chose to not teach? just play all day? If waste collectors did not show up?  or You fill in the blank…..

When we think about the jobs that we do as adults and those that children are asked to do, the only difference is not if the job is important – the only difference answers the question;  Am I able and responsible enough to do the job?  If you are 8 years old you won’t be driving, but you could set the table.  If you are 12 years old you won’t be paying the mortgage – but you may be asked to keep the yard clean and green.

Who is responsible?  All of us are responsible for what we are able to do, been asked to do, or have promised to do.

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Helping children learn about responsibility

kids-choresWhen we talk about responsibilities we are generally talking about the job we have, the things that are required of us to do to make our lives or that of others better.  Just as important as it is to get the job done, doing so with a good attitude is important also.

How do we feel or express ourselves about our responsibilities? Do we grumble about them, mope about or become upset when it is time to perform our work?  This question is important for both parents and children to consider.  We want to invite our children to start young taking on what they are able to do.  However most times it takes them longer, they may not do the ‘perfect’ job and it is easier and faster for us to do it ourselves as parents.

How do we teach our children to be responsible members of the family and not do so begrudgingly?

When it is time to do our chores about the house, smile, invite our children to be part of the team – taking on some of the responsibility.  Starting them at a young age will make them feel valued and a part of the team, and they are learning to take on some of the chores.  Let them know that you rely on them to do this part of the work, hold them accountable for the finished product and depend on them to do their part even as they grow older.

Responsibility is really about us using our ability to respond to what is required or needed and expected from us.  As parents we not only set the example, but we also need to set expectations and let our children know what is required, needed and expected.  Then – do not do it for them.  In the end they will be amazing members of any community they are a part of, because they understand that responsible people do their part – even when they are not asked to do so.

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Life Skills: Responsibility – The Definition

Word of monthEach month we will discuss a life skill with all of our students. This month the word is Responsibility.  This word will be defined in the following ways for our students.

Young students: Responsibility means: “I’m the one that gets the job done!”

Older students: Responsibility means:  Doing what is required, needed or expected of us.

Each age group has a worksheet that parents can use to continue the discussion at home with their children, and one for adults to allow them to think more deeply about the skill and how it applies to them. Would you like to receive the worksheet? Stop by our studio at 133 Gibralter Avenue in Annapolis, MD and tell us the age of your child. We will give you a worksheet and invite you to watch Mr. Joe discuss the word with the students in class.  You can also follow our discussions here on this website.

If you would like to become a member of Balanced Life Skills, come TRY CLASSES FOR FREE.   We are not your typical after school activity, in fact we are an education center, working with our students on physical skills along with empowering families with compassion, awareness and respect – creating a culture of peace – through the arts.  We believe in every child and build their self – confidence.  Balanced Life Skills takes part in community service and encourages each student to do the same.

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Respect for role models to role modeling

how-to-be-a-dad-Role-Model-24-7-365It is funny how we went from talking about respect for ourselves to respect for others and property to who we respect and being a role model.  All of us not only have people we admire, but we are looked up to and admired by others.  Even if we are a child in the family, the younger children look up to the older ones – and they many time pattern themselves after them.  At the very least they want to do everything that the older one does.

In school the younger students look at the older ones and determine for themselves how they should be acting.  In sports or in martial arts classes, those with less experience look up to those with more to determine how much effort it takes to get to a higher level.  Every parent is the ultimate role model for their children, and I reminded the kids and parents this week that children will all grow up and have many of the same habits and ways that their parents have.  Of course there was a groan from many of the kids – even after they had said that their parents were their role model.  But it is true.  How many of us adults find ourselves sounding just like our parents in some way?

The reminder I gave to the kids this week: 

  • When choosing a role model or someone you admire, be careful not to follow blindly.  While they may have some areas of their life that are admirable, there may be other parts that are not.  Always check in with yourself and see if the example they are setting fit with your morals, values and ethics.
  • Knowing that you are a role model – even without knowing for whom – every decision, every behavior, every choice, we should be asking ourselves, ‘is this the way we would want others to behave’.  Is this choice one I would recommend to a person I was mentoring.

These thoughts may even cross the mind of every parent and adult.  This is what makes parenting so difficult and such a heavy responsibility.  Both your own children and other children are watching you, me and others.  Are we making choices and behaving in a manner that we would like to see our children behave now or when they are parents?

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Six ways of role modeling for our children

Who are our children’s role models?  They are going to imitate others, in fact children learn what is acceptable and not appropriate by watching what others do and say.  First on that list of role models and most important of all is a child’s parents.  As the child gets older though they will be influenced by others beyond their parents including athletes, musicians, those in the movies or television, coaches and religious leaders.  In fact anyone that they get to observe – even politicians who they observe in the news.

With all of these influences, as parents we want to ask ourselves “Who are we surrounding our children with?”  This would include what we are reading, watching, playing and being coached by.  Are they the kind of people with the attitudes we want to display to influence us?  We hope that all of our children have strong role models who possess the qualities that represent the values, morals and ethics that our family and community stand for.

shaving dadFirst though, how can we be a positive role model for our children and for any others that may be observing us – and yes they all are observing us, even if when we do not know when they are watching?  Here are 6 ways we can be a positive role model to our children:

  • Make positive choices and allow your child see & hear you make the choice.  They need to see the process of making choices, and how to work through a problem.
  • Be willing to apologize and admit when you have made a mistake.  This also comes with showing them how you repair the damage done.
  • Demonstrate responsibility by completing tasks, being on time, keeping your promises, setting and completing your goals.
  • Showing the value of others by your attitude, way you speak of others, and showing gratitude when others help you.
  • While our children see us as “parents” it is good for them to see us having other interests and passions. Balancing our life’s roles sets a good example of success for our children.
  • Have them see us as confident as to who we are and still working on constant and never ending improvement.

Now the question is – beyond their parents – who else does your child view as a role model?  Are they demonstrating the kind of attitude and character that you would like to see you children grow to being?  Remember – Surround your self with the kind of person you would like to become.  Who are your role models?

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