To be responsible
- To take charge or control of a situation or work.
- To behave appropriately/properly without being told. To keep your word and agreements.
- To be accountable for own behaviour.
- To meet your own commitments that is to do your duty or your work by yourself.
- To be a contributing member in your family, school and community.
Responsibility is something that you are expected to do. Can also be referred to as work. For example,
• It is your responsibility to brush your teeth at least two times a day in the morning and in the evening.
• It is your responsibility to do your homework every day.
• It is your responsibility to feed your pet and keep it clean.
Being responsible is doing what we are supposed to do and accepting the consequences of our actions. It is accepting ownership of the task at hand and ensuring that it is done to the best of one’s ability. It involves doing the task without being asked to, that is, you initiate the task.
For example, if you have a pet, you ensure you feed it at the right time with the right amount of food and take it out for physical exercises. You also need to ensure you clean it and clean its litter box too without your parent telling you. But if your parents have to tell you first then you do it, that is obedience.
Bible story on responsibility. Do you know that God worked too?
GOD CREATED THE HEAVEN AND THE EARTH►
(International Children’s Bible)
In the beginning God made the heavens and the earth, and while the earth was still unformed, God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. And God saw that the light was good. Then God separated the light from the darkness. And God called the light Day and the darkness Night. And there was an evening and a morning, making the first day.
And God said, “Let there be a sky and let it divide the waters that are below from the waters that are above the sky.” And it was done. And God called the sky the Heavens. And there was an evening and a morning, making the second day.
And God said, “Let the waters under the heavens be brought together, and let the dry land appear.” And it was done. And God called the dry land Earth and the waters that were brought together Seas. And God saw that it was good.
And God said, “Let plants and trees grow from the earth.” And it was done. And plants and trees grew from the earth, each plant bringing forth its own kind of seed and each tree its own kind of fruit, and God saw that it was good. And there was an evening and a morning, making the third day.
And God said, “Let there be lights in the heavens to separate the night from the day. Let them be signs to mark the seasons, the days, and the years. Let them be lights in the heavens to light the earth.” And it was done. So God made the two great lights (the sun and the moon): the greater to rule the day and the lesser to rule the night. God made the stars also and placed them in the heavens to throw light upon the earth. And God saw that it was good. And there was an evening and a morning, making the fourth day.
And God said, “Let the waters bring forth many living creatures and let birds fly above the earth and in the sky.” And God made large sea-monsters and all kinds of living creatures with which the waters abound, and all kinds of birds. And God saw that it was good. And he blessed them, saying, “Increase and fill the waters in the seas, and let the birds increase on the earth.” And there was an evening and a morning, making the fifth day.
And God said, “Let the earth bring forth all kinds of living creatures, cattle and creeping things and wild beasts.” And it was done. So God made all the different kinds of wild beasts, and the cattle, and everything that crawls upon the ground. And God saw that it was good.
And God said, “Let us make man like ourselves. Let him rule over the fish in the sea, the birds of the sky, the cattle, the wild beasts and all the living things that crawl upon the ground.” And God made man like himself, like God he made him. He made them male and female.
And God blessed them, and said to them, “Have children, increase, live all over the earth, and conquer it; rule over the fish of the sea, the birds of the sky, and over every living thing that crawls upon the ground.”
And God said, “See, to you I give every plant which grows on all the earth, and every tree which bears fruit with its own kind of seed. It shall be food for you. And to every wild beast and to every bird of the sky and to everything that crawls on the earth and is alive, I give every green herb for food.” And it was done.
And when God saw everything that he had made, he saw that it was very good. And there was an evening and a morning, making the sixth day.
And the heavens and the earth were finished and all that there was in them. And on the seventh day when God had finished the work which he had done, he rested from all his work. And God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, for in it he rested from all the work which he had done.
DISCUSSION ON THE CREATION STORY
- How many days did God work?
- On which day did God create man?
- What were the responsibilities given to man by God at creation? List them
- Which day did God have His rest?
- Why do you think it is important for us to have rest too?
BIBLE VERSES ON RESPONSIBILITIES (International Children’s Bible)
What does God tell us concerning responsibilities? (After reading a verse with the child, ask the child the lesson he/she gets from the said verse. Then go through all the lessons derived again. They are listed below. You don’t have to finish everything in one session.)
I have seen what is best for a person to do here on earth. He should eat and drink and enjoy his work. This is because the life God has given him on earth is short. God gives some people the ability to enjoy the wealth and property he gives them. He also gives them the ability to accept their state in life and enjoy their work. Such people do not worry much about how short life is. This is because God keeps them busy with the things they love to do.
In all the work you are doing, work the best you can. Work as if you were working for the Lord, not for men.
A lazy person will end up poor. But a hard worker will become rich
Hard workers will become leaders. But those who are lazy will be slaves.
A lazy person catches no food to cook. But a hard worker will have great wealth
Do you see a man skilled in his work? That man will work for kings. He won’t have to work for ordinary people.
1 Thessalonians 4:11-12
Do all you can to live a peaceful life. Take care of your own business. Do your own work. We have already told you these things. If you do then people who are not believers will respect you. And you will not have to depend on others for what you need.
DISCUSSION; LESSONS LEARNT FROM THE ABOVE SCRIPTURES.
- God wants us to enjoy work.
- God says work is the best thing for us here on earth.
- We are to keep busy with the work we enjoy to do.
- We should give our best at work.
- We are working for God in all that we do.
- We should not be lazy.
- Work gives us food and all that we need (wealth)
- We should practice more on what we do to become the best (skilled)
- When we work we become leaders and we serve kings when we give our best.
- We have to do our own work to earn respect from others.
- And from the story of creation, we need to take a break too, after working so hard.
ACTION TO TAKE
Ask the child and let him/her to identify some of the responsibilities that your parents and teachers expect of you to do.
1. In the house
2. At school
Make your own chart or guideline of chores and stick on the fridge and in your room.
Keep on supervising as the child carries out the duties. Remember to practice obedience and the Four Phases of Ease if the child does not know how to perform the task. Obedience will preceed taking on responsibility once the child has taken full ownership of the obligation. Continue reading for more tips and strategies below.
Always ensure to pray. Teach the child to pray also on taking responsibility.
PRAYER FOR PARENTS ON RESPONSIBILITY
Almighty Father, You are a perfect example of taking your responsibilities and carrying them to completion. You worked, completed all you had planned to do and rested as well. (Genesis 2:1-3). You have promised us that the work You began in us; raising and disciplining our children, You will carry it to completion on the day of Christ Jesus as well. (Phil 1:3-7) Father, we have the confidence in You.
Father, thank You for considering me as Your servant. Please make me a perfect role model for my children so that they can emulate me as I work in Your vineyard. Please help me with those areas that I struggle in, (mention them) for You say that in my weakness You are my strength. So that I may serve by the power that You supply so that in everything You are glorified through Jesus Christ. (1 Peter 4:11).
I come before You with a heart full of praise and thanksgiving for these little ones that You have entrusted in my care. Please enable me to carry out my duty and responsibility according to Your will with joy and not begrudgingly as I am trying to please You and not men. Col 3:23.
Please fill my children’s heart with a desire to serve You diligently and not to forget on their responsibilities too. Let them do their work joyfully to their best and completion as they know that they are serving You also. Empower them to serve others again with the help of the Holy Spirit as they carry on their duties.
Dear Lord kindly enable them to eat, drink and find fulfilment in their work all the days of their lives. For this is a gift from You. (Ecclesiastes 5;18-20). We thank You for the times that we have been able to carry out our duties diligently. We praise and adore You, Lord. Thank You for being so faithful, in Jesus name we pray, Amen.
Prayer Samples on Responsibility for the Children.
Dear God, please make me happy and joyful towards work in Jesus name I pray. Amen.
Dear God I do not like the responsibility of ———. Please help me do this as though I am doing it for You. In Jesus name I pray Amen.
Dear God please enable me to complete the jobs I had started like You. In Jesus name I pray Amen
Dear God, thank you for the responsibility of———. Please give me the strength and disciplined to work on it. In Jesus name I pray. Amen.
Tips and Strategies on Teaching Children Responsibility.
Most parents want their children to be responsible when they grow up. Responsibility is a journey that can be taught from a young age. There are age appropriate guidelines on responsibilities that each child can be given in a home.
Coach, teach, demand and expect responsibility. Please sit down and teach your child what you expect of him or her. Do not just wish them to fall into being responsible. Some children may be responsible naturally by God’s grace, but not all will be. Teach from the scriptures too. This is also very powerful as the bible says that the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and the of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart (Hebrews 4:12).
Examples on how to coach responsibility.
’If you play with your toys, it is your responsibility to put them away.’
’It is your responsibility to clean up after yourself for example after making and eating a sandwich.’
Talk about the responsibilities with your child. This can be done in a calm and relaxed manner. Make it open ended and collaborative to hear out too.
’I have noticed you are having trouble to help around the house. What’s up.” What chores do you love to do?’ Allow them to respond and note down the chores agreed on.
- Need to validate his reasons. ’Oh it looks like doing your chores interrupts your tablet time/ play time.’
- Show your concern and reason. Can we come up with a solution that we can still play and work and accomplish both daily.’ Work out a routine so that it is a win win.
- Make a chart on the agreed responsibilities. Post it somewhere convenient. Agree to try it out for a few days first then review it. Reinforce the positive attributes. Review and repeat. Make it longterm.
- Stick to the rules, make sure your expectations are realistic too. If your child resists work and openly objects. Keep on, and do not give up until he accepts, you have to inculcate the habit. Have a structure and a routine system for your child to carry out her responsibilities.
- Write and stick them somewhere where the child can read them frequently. Children love layouts and consistencies. Sometimes this can be very hard depending on the family culture but do not be discouraged. Just do what you can, you will both make it out well in Jesus mighty name.
Brian Tracy in his book on how ‘The Power of Habit’ says that it takes 21 days generally to create a powerful habit. Although sometimes it can only take a split second to change a habit depending on the intensity of the emotion for example, when it concerns health and the doctor warns you to change your habits. Keep the patience.
Keep track of the progress. Avoid rewards at first though. Otherwise, the child might always expect to be paid if he does any duty around the house. There is a need for reinforcement. Offer rewards on progress done beyond your expectation. Rewards need not be monetary, especially for younger children. Examples of rewards can include taking walks together, going to the park, more playtime, screen time, movie night, praises etc.
Help your child to connect the dots of cause and effect relationship. This can be achieved by helping him think through his actions. For example,
- ‘If you dont brush your teeth properly, you will have teeth aches.‘
- ‘This is the consequence of not taking care of your toys.’ (In a case where the toy breaks or is lost).
- ‘This is the reward for keeping your room organized the whole day.‘
- ‘You know I am rewarding you for cleaning up the house properly the whole week.‘
- ‘I like the fact that you arranged your shoes neatly on the shelves. It is your responsibility to do that, and I like that you did it.’
Note that consequence is different from punishment. Consequence teaches or modifies the behaviour while punishment causes hurt or harm. Make the consequence time-specific, not too long and not too short. It should be related to the behaviour if possible, for example, if the punishment relates to time management, reading time should match the time spent on the screen. It should be on teaching the child something positive. Another example is to make the child write a letter of apology if the child was rude to someone. This way the child learns writing and grammar while at the same time, developing a good character.