Friday, March 24, 2006

Communities are responsible for their own problems

We need to teach the next generation of children from Day One that they are responsible for their lives. Mankind's greatest gift, also its greatest curse, is that we have free choice. We can make our choices built from love or from fear.
- Elizabeth Kubler-Ross

The author of this quote has the right idea--make children responsible for the choices they make in their lives. That includes being responsible for (accepting liability for and consequences of) their mistakes.

However, it seems to absolve adults of any responsibility for doing anything beyond teaching children that there are consequences for their actions.

This is wrong thinking! And it's potentially damaging to children.

First teach children that they have choices and that each choice has its consequences. Teach them about their choices and the various kinds of consequences. Teach them the severity of the consequences.

Teach them how to cope with severe consequences if they must face them. Give them the skills to survive and thrive after making terrible mistakes in their lives (or after a disaster over which they had no control strikes).

Then make them responsible for the consequences that follow from their choices.

Now where does the biggest responsibility lie? It lies with the parents who must do their job thoroughly and completely before they shift the blame for mistakes onto their children.

Before that, the responsibility lie with the community to teach new parents what they need to know about parenting. Today communities are teaching nothing of significance to new parents.

Until communities take responsibility for teaching those who will raise the young who will be their future, no one should be pointing fingers at children and telling them to take responsibility for their behaviour.

The blind should not lead the blind, especially when they both have the ability to learn to see.

Bill Allin
'Turning It Around: Causes and Cures for Today's Epidemic Social Problems,' striving to clarify the responsibilities of parents and the responsibility of the community to teach parents what they need to know to raise their children well.
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