Sunday, April 13, 2008

What has happened to accountability?

In my many years as a school volunteer and working in the school system, I came away from my experience with a chip on my shoulder when it came to accountability. It seems there is a shortage of it! An overwhelming number of students always seemed to have an excuse, a justifiable reason for why things had gone wrong, or a mistake had been made. No one it seemed, was ever at fault. Most shocking to me was how quickly parents swooped in to declare their child's innocence, or to accuse the school system of un-fairly picking on their child, or even offer a valid "reason" for why their child had done what they did. It was then very obvious to me how kids came to this state of self-denial. Their parents were leading the way. By doing so, their kids wern't learning the all-important physics lesson on life: for every action there is a reaction, or a consenquence, for their behavoir, good and bad. These kids were being robbed the gift of learning how to grow from their mistakes; they were missing out on that great feeling you get in when you do the right thing and admit when you were wrong and owning up to it; the incredible rush of relief that follows a sincere apology. When a child owns up to their actions, down the road the recollection of their remorse and regret in previous bad choices will hopefully prevent them from duplicating their mistakes. Perhaps parents hover and buffer for their kids because of guilt, or embarassment, possibly the inability to admit their children aren't perfect, or maybe they harbor anger from past experiences in their lives. Hopefully it does come from their love and innate sense to protect their kids, but truly, if it is out of LOVE for their children, they are better off letting their children fall down once in awhile. Just be there and support them in accepting the consequences. From my perspective love doesn't mean preventing your children from experiencing the pain of a bad choice. Love means walking beside them and supporting them down the road of accountability. It means being accountable for your actions.

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