For twelve years, I worked for a non-profit agency as an educator to teens about life choices. I was the director of a five-day workshop that covered self-image, peer pressure, media influence, setting boundaries, etc. A primary foundation of the program was learning to be Responsible.
I misspelled the word on purpose. On the board, I wrote Response-able. I explained to teens that being responsible means being able to respond. For example, when your teacher lays out an assignment, and you do the work and turn it in on time - you are proving that you are able to respond to what is required.
This applies to every situation. Driving, graduating, a first job, parenting, teaching, managing, leading. Being response-able means:
1. You see and understand the requirements of the task.
2. You decide you are able to fulfill those requirements.
3. You take ownership of the task and get to work.
Being response-able doesn't mean you won't fail. There are no guarantees in life. Being response-able means, I understand, I'll do my best, and I'll deal with the result, whatever it is. From start to finish, I've got this.
This lesson was an eye-opener to most teenagers. They didn't typically connect the work part and the result part with the "I want to do that" part. Their brains were still maturing; the prefrontal cortex (reason) was still grappling to have more influence over the limbic system (wants.)
Growing up takes time.
I often think adults need a refresher course in
response-able-ity. We clearly forget some aspects of it. Like when I bake cupcakes and then wonder why I'm not losing weight.
Growing up is hard. Even when you're a grown-up.