She Spelled on the Scrabble Board

My daughter and I had our brief share of LDR (long distance relationship) last year. I was working in NCR (National Capital Region) otherwise known as Manila and she was in the Central Visayan Region. Coming home to her now made me realize that despite my parents’ strict patterns; she has grown complacent with many things. Of course, she was expected to obey and clean but she was not necessarily responsible for cleaning up. She has her stuff scattered all around their house. Every room in the house has some of her stuff. She is even clueless of where all her stuff is. I hardly had to deal with these dilemmas before. Last year, although she was still expected to clean up and was told to do so, she also manages to get away with not doing so. She may or may not do it. And, responsibility is more than obedience.

Being responsible is a broad term which means many different things to different people. I’d like to believe our Balai Statement had responsibility in its core. Responsibility may mean being a dependable team player who can be counted on, keeping one’s word/agreements and promises, meeting one’s commitments, doing something to the best of one’s ability, being accountable for one’s behavior, accepting credit and appreciation when you do things right, and acknowledging mistakes. Responsibility is one key to children’s success both in school and in the larger world when they grow up.

Many people often confuse obedience with responsibility. Adults often think of the children as responsible for accomplishing tasks. Children are usually given sets of “to-do” list and they are expected to do them. Parents love their children to do what they ask. It is a general belief that following directions and to not questioning authority begets obedience; and it does. However, this is not responsibility! These behaviors are classified as obedience. Teaching children responsibility is more than obedience. There are many ways to help our children.

My Bunny Munchkin and I have agreed and pledged on relearning responsibility. Previous years allowed us to explore on this life-skill through chores. She was a preschooler back then. I realized we may need amendments on the game plan. As children normally thrive on order, we need to restructure a routine which she could be complete in any order that works for her. A written schedule may be helpful. Yeah, it’s a bit old school but seriously beneficial. Most children keep their stress level down knowing when everything will get done. It also teaches them to manage their time and take note of their commitments. Clean as you go or CLAYGO will have to make a comeback too. She has to remember she is responsible for her own mess. It should not be something that has to be solicited from her. Cause again, responsibility is more than obedience.

In the bigger picture of things and life, we want our children to accept ownership for a task or chore. Whenever, we order our children around, they do it simply because they were told so. But we want our children to do it because it needs to be done. We want them to see it as a necessity and understand that it is. We want them to accept that it is their obligation to do it. We hope that after a while, they may even initiate doing a task “because it needs to be done” – not because they are being told to do it. Now, that would be called responsibility. Teaching responsibility is more than obedience.