Responsibility is following through with what God has called you to do. God has called you and your children to love Him and love others. But where do you begin? Teaching your kids responsibility is a "marathon" character trait that takes time and patience. No quick fixes here! It may seem like an ever changing target with each new season your child enters into, but no matter their age, there are typically four categories you are aiming for them to excel in.
When you hear the word, "Waco," maybe the Baylor Bears or those infamous silos come to mind? Well, here's a new connotation for Waco, that I hope will help you remember four areas to focus on when teaching your kids to be more responsible.
W - WORDS
A - ACTIONS
C - COMMITMENTS
O - OTHERS IN NEED
WORDS: Teach your child they are responsible for their words . James 3:1-8 speaks to the power and effects your words have on others. My favorite visual for this is to have your child squeeze a big tube of tooth paste out onto a plate, then ask them to put the toothpaste back into the tube. They will quickly learn it’s an impossible feat. Although you can't “take back” your words, you can be responsible for them and apologize and ask for forgiveness when you hurt someone. Having a “word filter” may come with maturity but they can learn to take responsibility and ownership for their words now.
ACTIONS: Teach your child they are responsible for their behavior . This is where it's easy to jump on the "behavior modification" train instead of pointing them back to their hearts, and what's fueling the behavior. Proverbs 12:20 tells us that God gives joy to those who promote peace. In our house, I'm constantly asking my boys if they are being peacemakers or troublemakers when their actions start to go sideways. It's a simple question that helps to point their brain back to what's going on in their heart. What's the undercurrent that's driving their behavior, is it helpful or hurtful?
COMMITMENTS: Teach your child they are responsible for keeping a commitment . Nehemiah 9:8 reveals that God is the ultimate promise keeper and Psalm 15:4 encourages you to keep your promises even when it hurts. Keeping your commitments to others shows a selfless and loyal love. It communicates they matter and your goal is to show up and finish strong. Whether it's a play date or a sports team, if you have committed to it, you keep your word. Your consistency is a direct reflection of the steadfast devotion of your Heavenly Father.
OTHERS IN NEED: Teach your child they are responsible for responding to the needs of others . One way to help your kids become others-focused is to simply show them how to stop and notice the people around them. When you're too self-focused and in a constant state of hustle, you usually miss the needs of others around you. "Stop to notice and help" is a new phrase we're throwing around at our house this year. It's as much for me as it is for my boys. You can't respond to the needs of others if you don't stop to notice others in the first place. Galatians 5:13 reinforces that you "don't use your freedom to satisfy your sinful nature. Instead, use your freedom to serve one another in love."
Teaching kids responsibility is opening their eyes to others and how their words and actions affect those around them. By being responsible, you are outwardly showing others God's love for them while trusting in the love He has for you.