As we inch closer to the first day of school, there is much to be done to prepare our children… school clothes/uniforms, backpacks, and school supplies are some of the standard checklist items. What about mentally preparing our kids to jump back into the routine? Are you talking with your kids about your hopes and expectations for them this year? Accountability is an excellent topic to touch-on.
Definition of Accountability
1. the state of being accountable, liable, or answerable; an obligation or willingness to accept responsibility or to account for one’s actions.
Last week we talked about responsibility, the relative synonym of accountability. Let’s be sure and understand the difference between the two:
“Accountability” is being answerable to others for your actions, or lack thereof.
“Responsibility” is being liable and dependable when it comes to tasks or actions.
Accountability leads to responsibility. Last week, I used my daughter forgetting to write down her homework assignment, as an example. I can encourage her to be resourceful in hopes of getting the information she needs, but I will also need to remind her that it’s her responsibility to come home with the assignment. Further, she needs to understand that the consequences for not getting the information and completing the assignment will be accountability to her teacher the next morning. What that “accountability” entails is up to the teacher… sitting out of recess to complete the assignment, being given extra math problems, writing down 5 things that she’ll do in the future so it doesn’t happen again, etc.
How can we help our children think about accountability before they
take (or don’t take) action?
Being the “A Type” gal that I am, I like lists and charts! I think a great way to get your children thinking about being accountable for their actions (or non-actions) is to lay it out for them in the simplest format possible and include them in tracking their actions day to day. The more we talk to them about being accountable and reward them with our time and attention in tracking their progress, the more natural accountability will come to them. They will also exhibit a great sense of pride in their accomplishments… I call that a “win-win”!
What are some ways that you’ve created a culture of accountability with your kids and in your home? Do tell! Let’s keep the dialogue going. By sharing our thoughts and ideas we can help each other nurture accountability in our young citizens!
Until next time…