Accountability Taught as a Discipline
I often look around and see a multitude of individuals who do not have a true concept of Accountability. The most obvious are in children who, do to varying degrees of parental involvement are still learning Accountability and how it may or may not affect them in their very limited lives. We all know of a friend or family member who has a very shallow understanding of accountability and how poor decisions have produced an outcome with less than favorable results. What is important is how one interprets the bad outcome in relation to the decision made and even more importantly to acknowledge that if another road had been taken perhaps results would have been more positive. I really feel that Accountability should be taught and discussed in the family as a Discipline rather than something more of convenience in nature. If poor choices are made then poor results materialize. The best part of teaching Accountability as a Discipline is that positive outcomes are focused upon instead of negative consequences.
Outcomes and Consequences
It is sometimes hard for the child to understand their place in the family unit. Depending on their age it is a tumultuous time of testing their boundaries and experiencing new and exciting things every day. The wonderful thing about these times are that their minds are very open to learning new things and ideas so it makes them very receptive to parental involvement and now is the time for parents to introduce the concept of Outcomes and Consequences. Depending on the age of the child it can be as simple as playing with blocks. Carefully and skillfully, together with your child you could stack blocks up to almost the point of collapse and then you stop and discuss the situation. At this point we could not put any more blocks on and admire our beautiful creation and enjoy what we have done together (a potential positive outcome reinforcing a sense of accomplishment) or we could continue stacking blocks and our block palace will collapse into ruin (a potential negative outcome) no matter what the outcome is, it can be used as one of many ways to introduce the concept of Outcomes and Consequences.
Social Value in Accountability
I’m a firm believer that our world is full of people who are truly lacking in Accountability. From major oil companies who allow safety protocols to become relaxed resulting in environmentally disastrous oil spills to the man in the office who constantly skirts responsibility to the detriment of himself and fellow co-workers. Our prisons are full of people who were not correctly taught Accountability as a Discipline, how many times have we watched some documentary on television and listened to an inmate talk about his childhood? It usually goes along the lines of this. Father? What Father? OR my Father always beat me and usually my Mother too, OR everybody was using drugs and alcohol. Usually in families where dysfunction is common place there is no room for healthy communication and the teaching of children. The end result is over-crowded prisons to workplaces filled with irresponsible people pointing their fingers at others when things start heading south. One could say that Familial Dysfunction is the root of society’s ills and true it does play a major role in it but that is for another post. I really believe that if parents just allow the very subject of Accountability to become a subject of conversation on a consistent basis our children, and ultimately modern society would positively benefit from it. The key is consistency and not when it’s convenient for the parent. When Mom or Dad are burned out from that extra long day and they are making their way to an hour or two of well deserved relaxation do not let the opportunity slide when your child needs to be shown an example of the consequences of a bad decision or the rewards of a good decision. If you teach Accountability as a Discipline in your home your family will be happier, your child will grow up as a more responsible human being and society will be healthier because of it.
How do you teach (or have taught) Accountability in your home?
One of the most critical skills that is often overlooked in everything from our schooling and throughout our childhood learning path is the art of being an effective listener. If one cannot listen with intent, process the information received then respond accordingly the entire act of communicating effectively is compromised. I’ve often thought how nice it could be if there were no gaps in the communication train and everyone would seamlessly transition from one subject to the other and everyone understood where the other stood, unfortunately life is a little more challenging than that and at times downright difficult. So in order to ease frustrations in the workplace or in at home relationships I’ve utilized these 5 ways to become a better listener and they are as follows:
#1-Clear the head. Before engaging in the conversation I always do a little “Mind Clearing” exercise where I separate current thoughts from ones about to occur and it goes like this…Quick inventory of current thoughts and pending issues then a 5 count back…5,4,3,2,1…showtime. What this does is stops current thought processes just long enough to begin a new string of informative input (your next conversation) to allow you to have a more “focused” beginning to the conversation which brings me to the next point.
#2-Focus. In order to focus, a strong effort to minimise external stimuli should happen, everything from the “no brainer” acts of turning off your beloved digital devices, to clearing a physical space (with no visual distractions) to creating a “Do Not Disturb” period or block of time.
#3-Verbally Affirm-Show that you are absorbing what the other person is saying by strategically interjecting words of “I understand” and reaffirming a statement with “I see your point exactly.”
#4-Use Body Language-It backs up Verbal Affirmation, square your body up with the person you are listening to and as points are made to you a simple nod of the head with direct eye contact confirms that you are “actively listening.”
#5-Always Participate-Engage a little more by asking a question or two, even if you know the answer already it allows the other individual to reinforce an idea shared and allows their confidence level to rise as it gives them a chance to reaffirm to you that they have everything under control.
Hopefully with these small personal tips of mine perhaps some of you can become awesome listeners and really engage friends, coworkers and loved ones effectively!
This life is nothing more than a series of choices which the results of will ultimately pave a large portion of our destinies here on earth and for those with a religious bone our place in the afterlife. Some of us out there made choices in our educational career that may have included partying to excess, taking care of siblings because of errant parents, or never really learning the value of a good education. I should now note that I am guilty of all of the above yet notice I said “made choices in our educational career.” Even though I came from a home where absolutely no value was placed on education, public schools were merely taxpayer funded childcare and college was what rich kids did after High School I own up to my choices and the ramifications that came from them.
After High School in 1988 I went straight into the workforce, learned a trade and have been working fairly steady ever since. By most American standards I do very well for myself and know that a lot of people would love to be where I am in life.But over the course of the last 7 years or so I’ve realized most of us working class folks are, for the most part, just a tiny gear in a huge machine. A monstrous engine that rolls on with so much power and momentum that it feels like it is almost impossible to stop much less slow down to make a difference. I’ve learned that it feels ok to be working class and as long as our family and friends have their health then everything should be ok…and it is. But when it comes to labor, life in the workplace and big companies the plain hard truth is that as long as you are employed by another person, group of individuals, or any other organization you have given up the opportunity to be the machine and have simply settled on being the tiny gear, I’m #33621…who are you?
Most of the populace simply settles into a groove of going to work, coming home, raising kids, paying bills and trying to have a little fun in between every now and then. But imagine for a moment if you had that ability to move millions of dollars around in business before you went out for lunch that day, imagine if you had that experience and education to affect thousands of people (employees) with one decision made behind the closed doors of some meeting room?
It’s frightening to me that an executive with one swipe of a Montblanc can change your humble wage earning life in which you have been so comfortable with into one of great struggle and strife. I know, I know, I know that big business is just that, BIG BUSINESS and they are in it to make money at whatever cost. I know, I know, I know that the overweight business executive that has a failing marriage, suffers from high blood pressure and erectile dysfunction is just doing his job too but what about destiny? He chose that life and I chose mine, the difference between our two chosen paths is he can fire, lay-off and destroy me, my families financial security, and wipe out our health insurance but I do not have the option to do the same to him…at least staying within current laws and regulations concerning arson, murder, assault and battery or multitude of similar actions.
I can say with 100% certainty that no amount of team-building, goal-setting, profit sharing, touchy feely garbage that some corporate HR goon came up with is ever going to convince my working class self that I am more than merely a number on their payroll. It doesn’t even seem to matter in the workplace anymore that you do a good job for the betterment of the organization. There will always be some slimy pole smoker who is having beers with the right people, who is more than willing stomp right over the back of your head to get one up on you. Then the next thing you know all your hard work building a good rep with the company will go down quicker than those $2.00 draughts down at Jockos Rocketship. I often ask myself what would I have done differently? Well, beginning with right out of High School I would have distanced myself from my drug-addled, alcoholic, dysfunctional family and chose a clean healthy life centered around getting a college education probably in the arts of some type as my first love was always music. I could have seen myself settling into a career of teaching music and trying to make a difference in some young persons life. Instead I chose to chase a buck and in the mean time 25 years of hard labor, long hours and erratic work schedules have left my body wore out and aged by about 20 years. What I have gained from this rugged working class life is a need not to provide a better material existence for my children but provide a better vision of their future to them, to show them that they can and do have a lot more options to truly excel at something, to enjoy life and quite possibly make a difference in this world and not just be…#33621.
Well, a new year is upon us my friends! I am very excited to see what the next 365 days holds for many of us. In an effort to jump start my writing this year I have decided to participate in an exercise introduced to me by Sonia Simone over at CopyBlogger and that is the “20 minutes per day for 30 days writing challenge!” Up to this point writing for me has been very grueling and mentally draining and for an aspiring blogger those conditions are absolutely unacceptable! Enthusiastically speaking, I am feeling the need to practice more and more so this whole “content creation” thing will begin at some point to feel more natural to me and not so forced and stilted.
Another by-product that I am hoping to acquire might be some actual usable content I might be able to utilize here on “itsjeffdavidson.com”. Golly Gee! Wouldn’t that be really keen Wally? In all seriousness I have spent the better part of last year doing all kinds of research on blogging and internet marketing and haven’t created much content yet I have so many ideas and things I wish to share with the world so this next year for me will be very exciting as I ratchet up certain areas in my life and ratchet down others. I have been very focused in some areas of life and now I will turn my attention to others with varying degrees of intensity from a pinpoint hyper-focused mind-set for some and a more laid back approach for others. 2014 will yet again be another year of tremendous growth for me as I learn more and put to work all I have learned in the past year!
I am very optimistic that I can and will do good this year, that whatever I can become involved with will have some positive social value that other people may use to improve the quality of their lives big and small.