Over time, failing to accept responsibility has severe consequences. First and foremost, it has a devastating effect on your own mind and heart. When you know you have failed to take responsibility for something that you should, it’ll begin to bother you, to eat at you, little by little. Pretty soon, you’ll feel very small inside.
That may sound like an exaggeration, but it’s the truth. As we discussed in the post titled How to Respect Yourself and Others, taking responsibility for your own actions makes life work better. Remember, self-respect is the worth or value you place on your own life. Therefore, one of the consequences of continuingly failing to accept personal responsibility is that you eventually guarantee that you’ll view your life as having little to no real value.
“A man can do what he ought to do;
and when he says he cannot, it’s because he will not.”
J. A. Froude
In our R-E-S-P-E-C-T series, we also discussed ways in which you can gain the respect of others. This provides value to your life – in your own eyes as well as the eyes of others. There’s a good chance that when you avoid accepting personal responsibility, someone will know that you’ve failed in this way. In other words, some other person may know that you’re responsible for the wrongdoing or poor choice, and when they see you fail to accept responsibility, they’ll lose all respect for you. If this happens on a frequent basis, you’ll never gain the respect of others that you hope to have one day.
Dear Teacher or Discussion Leader: In discussing responsibility with your kids, we suggest that you try to steer the conversation away from the issue of "chores." While chores may be important (to parents, anyway), they are rather trivial compared with higher order aspects of responsibility that have to do with character and integrity. We urge you to frame the conversation in this broader light.
If you are using the video, ask the first three questions before viewing.
1. What does it mean when someone is described as a "responsible" person?
2. What are some of the responsibilities kids your age have?
3. Are there some reasons why you might want to be considered a "responsible" person?
4. Why did Rhonda beg her friends to let her work on the science project?
5. Why did Rhonda's friends hesitate to give her an important responsibility?
6. Rhonda's friends took a chance when they trusted her. Would you have done the same? Why, or why not?
7. Why do you think Rhonda decided to stay home and do her work instead of going to Disneyland?
8. How would the play have ended if Rhonda had decided to go to Disneyland?
9. What are the rewards for being a responsible person?
10. In what ways can being responsible or irresponsible affect a person's self-esteem?
11. Did the kids in the discussion part of the program say anything that you strongly agree with or disagree with?
12. What did you learn from this video program?