THE “WHAT, WHY & HOW” OF RESPONSIBILITY

From The Virtues Project Educator’s Guide

WHAT IS RESPONSIBILITY?

Being responsible means that others can depend on you. You are willing to be accountable for your actions. When things go wrong and you make a mistake, you make amends instead of excuses. When you are responsible, you keep your agreements. You give your best to any job. Responsibility is the ability to respond ably. It is a sign of growing up.

WHY PRACTICE RESPONSIBILITY?

When you take responsibility for your own actions, others can trust you. When people are not responsible, they break their promises, fail to do what they said they would do and let people down. People who make excuses instead of amends keep making the same mistakes. When you are responsible, you get things done with excellence.

HOW DO YOU PRACTICE RESPONSIBILITY?

When you agree to do something, like homework, watching a younger child, or a job around the house, you take it as your responsibility. You don’t agree to do things which are too hard, or that you don’t really have time for. When you make a mistake, you don’t get defensive. You learn from it and you fix it. You are ready and willing to clear up misunderstandings.

What would Responsibility look like if…

  • You have a regular job at home and you would rather watch TV or read?
  • You have a lot of homework to do but a friend came by to play?
  • You just broke something in your friend’s house but no one saw you?
  • You promised a friend you would get together after school, but then remembered you had a music lesson?
  • You are watching your little brother (or sister) in a store while your mother finishes shopping?
  • You notice your parents working hard to keep the house clean?

Congratulations! You are practicing Responsibility when you…

  • Take your agreements seriously
  • Respond ably by doing things to the best of your ability
  • Are willing to do your part
  • Admit mistakes without making excuses
  • Are willing to make amends
  • Give your best to whatever you do

Affirmation: I am responsible. I give my best to all that I do and keep my agreements. I learn from my mistakes. I am willing to make amends.

Virtues Reflection Questions:

  • What is the responsible way to respond when you make a mistake?
  • What is the Teachable Moment (the virtue to be learned) when someone:
    • forgets their homework
    • doesn’t do a chore they have promised to do
    • tells a secret they promised not to tell
    • broke a promise to bring back a borrowed toy
  • What are some ways to make amends for these mistakes?
  • What does it feel like inside when you do something wrong?
  • What does it feel like inside when you admit responsibility?
  • What are some things you are responsible for now that you weren’t when you were younger?
  • What is a teacher responsible for? What is a student responsible for?

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