Teaching children not to make up excuses!

Every person alive makes mistakes. The question to ask is if we can be depended on to admit when we make a mistake or do we make excuses and blame others. When you are a parent, it is not unusual to hear from a child, “It’s not my fault,” or “he made me do it.” Unfortunately, the adult version of this is not that different. Adults are heard saying, “It’s not my job,” “no one told me,” and “I couldn’t help it.” Really? Does anyone buy either the child’s excuses or the adults?

Most adults are willing to forgive mistakes, have compassion for the misstep, or at least show empathy when someone in their life admits to having been in error. However, we lose our trust of anyone who is constantly blaming others and working to avoid the responsibility of accountability. We deem them as being undependable.

Teaching children dependability begins with naming this life skill as important to our family. We are only able to do that by modeling dependability and defining it for our children. When we see them demonstrate dependability we can acknowledge the behavior that we saw and identify it as dependability. The steps outlined is the process for awakening all gifts of character and life skills in ourselves and our children.

Doing our part in an inter-dependent world

When we recognize the inter-dependance of all humans, we see the importance of being dependable. In a family, each member plays a different role and their filling that role, completing the tasks and living up to their responsibilities helps everyone in the household live a better life. In schools the same is true. When students can be depended on to bring their best efforts and attitude, teachers come prepared, and administrators provide leadership and a culture of peace – students learn the lessons of the day.

In our communities, we depend on others to do their part so all of us live better than we could if we had to depend only on ourselves. I often imagine as I am taking the trash out to the curb what I would do if this were wholly my responsibility. What would I do? Still, I am depended on to place recyclables in the proper container and bins in a place for those who serve the public in this manner can reach them quickly.

The world we live in is becoming more inter-dependent also. When we are dependable, we live up to our commitments. With all of this in mind, wouldn’t it be helpful if all of us committed to speaking more peacefully, with tact and respect? We depend on each other to live our best lives, so we must find a way to commit to peacefulness with each other.

If you do not say “I promise” is it a promise?

One way of earning the reputation for dependability is by keeping our promises. Last night as we talked about this in class with our students. I asked them if you had to say “I promise” as a part of our sentence to make it a real promise to mom and dad.Many of them said yes, it was not a promise unless you said the words, “I promise.”  However when asked if their parents said to them, “We are taking you to Disney World for your birthday!” they thought for sure that was a promise that should be kept.

Dependability happens when others know we will do what  we say we are going to do – with or without the words “I promise.” We make many different commitments, promises, that others depend on us completing. It may be our chores at home, cleaning up a mess, homework, or getting ourselves up in the morning. As parents we commit to our children on many levels and they are depending on us to keep those commitments.

When we keep our promises to our children we are modeling for them a behavior we know is important for them to display. When we keep our commitments, our friends know they can rely on us, and we may be given greater privileges in the future. Dependability is important for us as teachers, parents, and students, building trust with those in our life.

How our dependability affects children

There are so many ways for us to show dependability in our life. In every role that we have in life, there are others that are expecting us to be there for them or to accomplish tasks we have promised to complete. Think about some of the roles you and I play in our life.

  • Family roles: as a mom, dad, brother, sister, aunt or uncle or grandparent. All of these functions in life have expectations, though they may hold different degrees of importance in families.
  • Friendships: Being known as dependable to our friends may include helping them when needed, being on time for dates, standing up for their rights.
  • Business or Employee: Our employer or employees have expectations like, being paid on time, completing tasks with excellence, doing what we say we would do. When we are dependable at our work, we are trusted with more responsibilities.

For our students and children, learning to be dependable is critical to their success in life. Where they learn to be dependable is primarily from their parents. When a child feels and sees that they have trustworthy adults in their life, it creates a feeling of safety. When children feel safe, they learn more efficiently, conduct themselves socially more appropriately and have fewer behavior problems.

Our job as caring adults is to give that kind of dependable foundation and boundaries that create safe feelings for the children in our sphere of influence. Let’s all of us be the kind of people that our children can count on consistently and without fear or reservation.

Gifts of Character: Dependability – The Definition

Each month we will discuss one life skill with all of our students. This month’s skill is Dependability. This life skill will be defined in the following ways for our students.

Young students: Dependability  means: You can count on me!

Older students: Dependability means: The ability to show others that they can rely on and trust you.

We are not your typical after school activity, in fact, we are an education center, working with students on physical self-defense skills while empowering families to bring out the best in our children and ourselves – through the martial arts. We believe every child has 52 gifts in them already. They only need to be taught how to grow and use them in their life. Balanced Life Skills serves parents, teachers and students to reach that goal.

If you would like to see Joe Van Deuren and Balanced Life Skills at work, TRY CLASSES FOR FREE for 2 weeks.