*Teaching responsibility to your own children should begin early.
- When children are old enough to understand, they should put away their own toys, play materials, eating materials, and bathing materials. They should be responsible for making their beds and keeping their personal belongings in order as a regular routine. Never pay children for doing something for themselves; in so doing, it actually robs them of self-esteem and is a form of bribery.
- Responsibilities should be set for each family member; for operating the home (which later becomes the business). There should be regular chores at certain times on certain days. It can be mopping the house, wiping the dust off the bookshelves, cleaning the bathroom or toilet, washing the car, washing your clothes, going to market, sweeping the compound or even cooking for the whole family. You can think of other chores as well. Payment may be in the form of praises, allowances or special privileges. Whatever is done should be checked, approved and paid for on a relative scale, similar to that which will be encountered away from home. Preteens and teens should have savings accounts and or checking accounts and should go in person (with a parent if necessary) to open them and make withdrawals. Dream lists should be encouraged and posted in a prominent place. Children should be encouraged to save their money for very special dreams they have. The savings can be for three to six months minimum and even longer if possible. As the children grow the training continues.
- Television should be off unless eyes are on it. Programs should be selected from the TV as to their value, interest and plot. The parent can buy DVD cassettes according to the age of the children and watch with them.
Alternate forms of diversion should be planned. Plays, books, concerts, museums, playgrounds, seminars, educational video cassettes, walks, talks, ghost stories, indoor and outdoor games, anything to stimulate the creative imagination and get control. When controversial shows are watched on TV, they should be discussed, during commercial and afterwards will all views listened to, rather than challenged. Television should not go into the right brain, subconscious of a child, ten or adult, without at least a logical review.
Now it is time for your (Parents’) responsibility
- Until the teens fly the nest, it is your responsibility to know where your children are, who they are with, pretty much of what is going on and when they will be home. Any friend of your child should be welcomed to your home. The best way to know what kind of environment your kids are into, is to invite the peers over and observe firsthand. The second way is to meet the parents of your children’s friends. Set rules that both parents will enforce. Set them in advance with your kids and ask the kids what penalty would be fair for breaking the rules. The penalties kids assign themselves, if they are involved in the process of rule setting are usually a lot tougher than the parents assign. Be consistent to your demands and in your discipline.
- Do not buy your children an automobile or motorbike. If you must, after they have saved for the down payment, cosign a note at the bank to guarantee that they will pay it back. Kids should make their own car and insurance payments. Cars that are given by parents get condemned three years earlier than cars purchased by the kids; a kid who buys his own car polishes it twice as often. If there is any evidence of any use of alcohol or drugs connected with your teens’ or young adults’ use of an automobile or motor bike, automatically stop them from driving for a three to six-month period. A teenager dies every 23 minutes in a car crash in America.
Responsibility continues, all throughout life.
- Carry the motto with you in all your teachings; “life is a do-it-yourself project. “when your subordinates bring you a problem, you should ask them first “what do you think what should we do about it?” When you give the responsibility for the subordinate, resist the temptation to take the easy way out and do it for them.
- Don’t talk about drug abuse and irresponsibility and come back, late after a party with your friends, fully boozed. Never preach what you don’t practice.
- Become a role model for your peers and those you want to lead. And always model yourself after people you respect.
- Let your children, employees and subordinates make mistakes without the fear of punishment or rejection. Show them that mistakes are learning devices that become stepping-stones to success.
- Never make excuses for anything. If a commitment can’t be met, always call immediately with the reason. Procrastination of any decision leads to the rationalization of failure. Never make excuses to the people you are leading.
…with Rose Hansey (firstname.lastname@example.org)