R is for Response-able-ity

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.  


Robyn Campbell said...

Growing up is sooo HARD!!!!! *sob* But I love the Response-able-ity. Excellent way to show it. I think I'll borrow this for homeschool. *waving*

Karen Lange said...

Growing up IS hard. I'm still doing it, even as a mom of three grown kids. :) Good post! I like the way you break it down. This is a message that needs to be spread far and wide, to young and old.

Thanks so much for commenting on and following my blog. It's great to meet you! Looking forward to stopping by here to read your thoughts.

Have a great weekend,

Marie said...

I tell my son I'm learning because this is my first time as a mom. :) He's fifteen and thinks he knows it all. LOL Working with the teens must be so rewarding!
Hope you have a wonderful weekend!

Brenda said...

Able to respond. I like that! I'm saving this post for my daughter to read.

Michelle said...

In health class, I am constantly saying "your choices and decisions have consequences," and I still have a few who think it doesn't apply to them. This is an awesome way to get that message across to teens! I may have to "steal" this and use in my own class next year if you don't mind.

Tracy said...

Mare, I love that concept...one I'd like to use for my son and my students! Great idea! and yeah, well, I agree about the response to weight loss as well when I've not been going on my walks as I've used the time to write the A to Z blog!

Unknown said...

What a great lesson for the young ones and us oldies!

Michael Ann said...

Wish my 15 yr. old son would apply this concept to his schoolwork...