“A child is like a sunflower, nurture him and he will mature to perfection.”

Monday, March 11, 2013

The Buck Stops Here!

Refusing to take responsibility is the motto of our age.
“I am a product of circumstances beyond my control, therefore I can not be blamed for anything that happens to me. I always have a clear conscience and my psychiatrist is satisfied that I am happy and normal”.
What a load of baloney!
Observe someone whose business is successful. Rarely will he attribute his achievements to anything but his efforts, intelligence, dedication and application.
The logic is clear; if you are never liable for punishment you are never worthy of rewards.
Jack* was standing by to see if he could help Jill* prepare dinner. Jill was opening a can of string beans. As Jill lifted the lid, a sharp burr from the edge of the lid cut her finger and she started to bleed. Jill’s first reaction was to say "if you hadn't crowded me in, this would not have happened". Jill is enacting the ‘I am not guilty’ routine. It may be that Jack’s presence disturbed her concentration, but Jill was the one that did not look out for sharp burrs in the lid. Jill refused to take responsibility for her action.
This mind frame results when education over-focuses on making the child or student happy,  not criticizing negative behavior and of course never making the culprit feel guilty. Only giving positive signals to develop a well-balanced student is lying.
The basic premise is wrong. Happiness is acquired by accomplishment. The achievements do not have to be medals and trophies. Real success is when the character of the pupil is ennobled. This is where complete honesty and openness is essential. There must be yardsticks by which a pupil can see clearly whether he is doing well or not.
Practically this is attained by assigning responsibilities. Make the pupil or child aware that his actions have consequences. "You don’t have to do your homework assignment, however, be aware that if you don’t know the subject matter you will not be able to pass the exams".
You don’t have to come for dinner now, but I will not keep the food warm on the stove for you for later.
If you don’t put your dirty clothes in the washing hamper, I am not going to wash them. You have only 4 days of fresh clothing to draw from; so bear the consequences of your actions.
You broke my best screwdriver using it as a lever to open the drain! As you were honest and came to tell me about it, I will not make you pay for the loss.
Each pupil is unique and the educator must find the right approach for his specific charge. However, the aim must stay clearly in focus, everyone is responsible for his or her actions.

*fictitious names taken from nursery rhymes

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