“Responsibilities,’ we all have responsibilities,” in Mr. Johnson’s sweet voice. Growing up, as young as I can remember, I was always reminded that we all have responsibilities by Mr. Johnson who is my childhood best friend’s father. Mr. Johnson was a leader in the community I grew up in who had a powerful positive and motivational effect on hundreds of people’s lives. He taught in Franklin County Schools for countless years, three generations in my family. He was known for telling students that they have responsibilities and holding them accountable until it was instilled in them. This was passed down to my aunt (one of many) who taught me about the importance of knowing what my responsibilities are and then following through with them. It was as simple as knowing which bags of groceries were mine to get out of the car to take into the house to put away. I can still remember my aunt telling my twin sister and I, 20 years ago, to take bags into the house, as we walked from the car; she had a big smile on her face as she said in Mr. Johnson’s voice, “Responsibilities, we all have responsibilities.” She was so proud of us for helping and even to this day she still tells my sister and me how proud she is of our success in life. She planted a seed that she has watched grow.
Responsibilities are learned even as young as toddlers all the way through adulthood. Responsibility is something that we continue to learn in different stages of life. Teaching children responsibilities in the beginning stages from toddlerhood on up, such as picking up toys, daily routines, various chores etc., sets your child on a successful path. In the final analysis, the one quality that all successful people have . . . is the ability to take on responsibility. – Michael Korda
Teaching responsibility fosters personal qualities that will help children later in life to be a team player, gain self-respect, accountability, understand that there are consequences for actions, etc. Responsibility also helps teach them independence. The only way to master a skill is through practice, which teaches them self-reliance. Young children mimic their parents; this is the perfect time to teach them good habits that will ultimately instill practical life skills.
Being a mother of a seven and a three year old, I started them off just like I was taught growing up! They have daily chores that are done without being prompted and are eager to assist in the grocery store, load and unload the grocery cart, etc. One morning, I had to get 38 gallons of milk for the child development center and guess who helped me put it all in my car? Yes, that’s right, my three year old son! We had several people to stop by and tell us how much of a helper he was and was shocked that he was able to do it. My son and I made a game of it and it was a breeze. Children need to know that you trust them; give them a chance. Some duties may not go as fast as you would like it to go but after all they have the opportunity to contribute to the family. When my daughter and son are interviewed for their first job, and the interviewer asks them to describe their character or asks them how their closest friend would describe them, one of the answers will be that they are a responsible person. Life is full of choices . . . Being responsible means being in charge of your choices and, thus, your life. – Unknown
Michelle Macon has been with Partners In Learning since 2006 and serves as the Program Coordinator and Family Support Advocate. She holds an associate’s degree in early childhood development and a bachelor’s degree in birth through kindergarten education. She is a mother of two children and has experience working with infants and toddlers.