One thing that I teach on often, whether I am talking to parents, teens or kids, is personal responsibility. Taking responsibility for your actions and being proactive. As a nation we have lost our sense of personal responsibility. Many Americans expect the government to meet all of their needs, that is not the government’s job. We need to start standing on our own two feet and we need to teach our children to do the same. Today’s Tuesday Tips are actually a report written by Richard D. Niece, Ph.D. and president of the Univeristy of the Ozarks. Dr. Niece is also the author of the book, “The Side-Yard Superhero” which I am currently reading and will be reviewing and giving away here at The Mom Maven very soon. I hope Dr. Niece’s report helps you and your family.
TEACHING RESPONSIBILITY IN AN IRRESPONSIBLE MARKET
By Rick D. Niece, Ph.D., author of “The Side-Yard Superhero”
In a downward spiraling economy, people look for others to take the blame. Finger pointing solves little. Now,
more than ever, we need to take responsibility for our actions. We need to understand that our current actions
affect more than our present situation. Our actions today reflect as models for our children.
As president of the University of the Ozarks, I receive a variety of communications from students’ parents. I am
surprised when they seek out the president on behalf of their sons and daughters. I expect college students to
speak for themselves. I believe responsible children grow up to be responsible adults, and this world needs
responsible adults to lead, guide and influence us.
Teaching begins and ends with parents, so here are six positive recommendations to instill responsibility in
1. Build Work Ethic
When I was nine-years old, I took over a newspaper route, a route I kept until I entered college. I was
proud to be a miniature entrepreneur. My 72 customers waited anxiously for me to deliver their daily
newspaper. My customers depended upon me, and if I let them down, I let myself down. That
newspaper route helped me grow into being a responsible adult with a strong work ethic.
2. Assign Household Chores
Responsibility can begin at an early age. Assign children routine tasks to complete around the house.
The following chores involve nothing unreasonable or barbaric: make the bed; tidy the bedroom; carry
out the trash; empty the dishwasher; mow the yard; rake leaves; dust, sweep, and mop (not mope).
3. Encourage Saving Money
When children earn money, insist they save some of it. The savings can be for short-term purchases like
video games and clothing, or toward long-term goals like summer camp and college. When children
save their own money, it gives the purchase special meaning.
4. Adopt a Pet
When something depends upon us, we become responsible. Pets—from goldfish to golden retrievers,
turtles to gerbils— require regular and reliable maintenance. But lessons of responsibility are not
learned if Mom or Dad becomes the one who cares for a neglected pet.
5. Foster Reflective Thinking
The power of reflective thinking dates back to Socrates. The concept is a simple one: the more we think,
the better we learn. Children make good decisions and bad decisions. As adults, we can help them think
about why they did what they did, and how the consequences affect them and others.
6. Model Values
We are children’s role models. We are models of honesty and truthfulness, examples of ethical behavior
and integrity. We are the superheroes of ordinary life, and our heroics are as powerful and protective as
our fictional counterparts. We teach that dishonesty and deception have unpleasant consequences, that
unacceptable behavior is unacceptable. But we cannot be worthy examples if we do not model proper
values ourselves. Be diligent. Children are watching.
Rick D. Niece, Ph.D., author of The Side-Yard Superhero, currently serves as the president for the University of the Ozarks
in Clarksville, Ark. He, along with his wife Sherée, work to provide intellectual and cultural enrichment for the 675
students of the University, preparing them for graduate school and professional employment success as well as establishing
lifelong values. For more information, please visit www.RickNiece.com. The report is reprinted here with permission.