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?