As part of our virtue of Responsibility we have looked at Personal Responsibility with students in September. We have explored various aspects of Personal Responsibility:
- What does a responsible person look like?
- How to choose well in accordance with one’s values and goals
- Emotional Responsibility; and
- The difference between Fault & Responsibility.
Personal responsibility amongst other things means being accountable for one’s actions; Having the capacity to make good decisions; Being reliable; Being dependable; Being a good friend and being trustworthy. However, being responsible is not always easy. Our will power needs to work on 3 levels to pull through. We need to focus on the I won’t (do that, avoid the temptation), I will (do this because I want the consequences of this responsible act) because I want (this core value). And of course there will be failures on the way – because we are all works in progress!
Emotional responsibility is one that takes quite a bit of unpacking. Emotions are not commandments they are sign posts indicating that something is going on when we are upset, tired or annoyed. When teens feel something they think they need to act on it straight away. We encourage them to acknowledge and accept the feeling (e.g. anger, upset). Then, to engage the thinking part of brain to assess what to do with this feeling. Bob Geldof reacted emotionally with anger and outrage when he saw the photos of starving children in Sub-Sahara Africa. He did not leave it as an emotion but thought and acted to form Band Aid. Emotions can lead to great things if we channel them constructively.
The difference between fault and responsibility is an important topic within personal responsibility. Many things are not our fault, “The bus was late”, “I don’t find maths easy”. But it is our responsibility how we choose to react or act to a situation not of our making, that is maturity.
In religion class the girls have reflected on what makes them less free. Often in their decision making there is a tug of war between; Whims and what they know to be right thing to do; Procrastination, the fear of a decision; not knowing if this is the right thing; or simply not feeling like being responsible. We have encouraged them to reflect on when they personally find it most difficult to be responsible and how they can be more responsible at school, at home, among friends, for the needs of others. Students will also explore how to practice responsibility when they speak (publicly and privately) and whether working well means working responsibly.