Point to the sky, point to the ground, point to a friend, point to your knee, point to your head!
Now, point to the person who is responsible for YOU…
Ask this of a child and, more often than not, they will point to an adult in the room: a teacher, parent, or maybe an older sibling. Here at Moorelands Kids, this means our staff. What comes next may shock some of you as it does our participants…
Take that finger and point it at YOURSELF because guess what?
YOU are responsible for you!
That’s right. You are responsible for you because YOU choose your attitudes, actions and behaviours. No matter what circumstances may arise, you are the one who chooses your response. Whether it is good or bad, the responsibility to make those choices is yours; as well as the consequences that come with them.
So how do we take responsibility for ourselves and choose our response?
Stop and think – the first thing we need to do when we find ourselves in a situation is to stop before we respond and think about our options and the consequences that come along with them. This is a concept that many of our kids grow in during their time at Mooreland Kids. Once they begin to stop and think, their behaviour becomes much more responsible.
Focus on Respect – Sometimes it’s hard to know what the right choice is. But one thing we can do to help us make better choices is to work on strengthening our own character and focus on showing others respect. When you put the focus on respect, you start to listen more to another person’s point of view. This helps you resolve conflicts peacefully and take responsibility for your own role in a situation.
Plan ahead – Something else we can do that will help us act in a responsible way is to plan ahead. Having goals helps us focus on what we need to get done in order to stay on track. Having goals gives us the motivation to be responsible so we can achieve them.
Know your triggers and barriers to responsible behaviour
There’s another part to planning ahead too. Being responsible for you also means not making the same excuses over and over again for bad choices. Instead, it means thinking about what can trigger us ahead of time and cause us to not choose the best response. At BLAST, a way that we drive this point home is to speak about it in terms of a science experiment that we have done with our participants.
I tell our kids that when we work on strengthening our character and thinking about our triggers, it’s like we are choosing to be filled with water rather than soda pop. When shaken by life’s struggles, water, when opened, remains still, while soda pop explodes.
Consider yourself as water (someone who shows responsibility by wanting to resolve problems peacefully), and a trigger that you may have as vinegar. Now when water and vinegar mix there is no reaction between the two. However, you now have a choice in your attitude action and behaviour after coming into contact with your trigger.
You could choose to add baking soda which represents a bad choice. Baking soda, water, and vinegar cause a chemical reaction of bubbling mixtures that causes a lot of mess and excitement that requires a lot of time and energy spent on clean up. On the other hand, you could add more water representing good choices. As previously mentioned, when water and vinegar mix there is no reaction. By adding more water you dilute the vinegar and cause it to have less of an impact. No mess to clean up, leaving you with the ability to move on with your day.
You need to know your triggers so that you are able to come up with good responses to those triggers (water instead of baking soda). This is a very large part of taking responsibility that takes practice. You simply can’t get done what you need to if you’re constantly cleaning up messy explosions.
Remember, that finger of responsibility should be pointed at you because you are responsible for you.
by Kubix, BLAST Grenoble Site Coordinator
Learn more about our leadership programs for kids!
Our leadership programs using the Moorelands Kids’ Habits & Qualities offer year-round experiences where kids can learn, practice and benefit from valuable life and leadership skills. We set the stage for kids as young as six to become leaders – first of themselves and then in their communities.