Tuesday, September 2, 2008

The Responsibility Project

Mom Central sent me info on this new site sponsored by Liberty Mutual. Even I have seen the recent Liberty Mutual ad campaign, and I don't watch much T.V. After airing these new commercials, they received an overwhelming response from people all over the nation who were appreciative of messages like this.

It is refreshing to see someone celebrating a positive value like responsibility, even if it is a smart marketing move. It's brilliant, really, because it is a hot subject. Many of us feel that it's a value that is slipping in our society. Because of the response, Liberty Mutual decided to dedicate a site to discussing this value. You can visit it at http://www.responsibilityproject.com. The goal of the site is to get people thinking and talking about responsibility more, which hopefully will inspire more responsible behavior in our society.
I have thought a lot about how to teach my children to be responsible, because it really doesn't seem to come naturally. We learn it as we mature, but sometimes it seems like each generation has it easier and easier and we don't even realize the need to be responsible for so many things. It seems as if before, more responsibility was naturally built into a child's life, out of necessity. The consequences were more noticeable and immediate if you didn't follow through on things. So few people seem to be willing to take responsibility for their own actions anymore. Of course, we still all seem to want everyone else to be totally responsible! This topic is well worth a collective conversation and introspection. I feel our society could make some very positive changes and avoid a lot of chaos if we will make a conscientious effort to change for the better with regards to our personal responsibility.
Interestingly enough, when you start talking about responsibility, you end up talking about another subject. I just read a book about ethics. It's called Moral Courage by Rushworth M. Kidder. The responsibility site overlapped and discussed some of the same issues. It might seem easy to live by your values, but often we find ourselves in situations where we aren't sure what to do, at least not till the moment passes. Where does our responsibility begin and end in any given situation? Often, it is not so cut and dried. Interestingly a study of what was considered the most important moral values all over the world in all kinds of cultures and settings showed one of the core values was responsibility. Problem is, too often we are hoping everyone else will be responsible for us. Things don't work well that way. But how do we make that more obvious to the up and coming generation? Just like kindness begins with me, responsibility begins with me too. We have to model it all the time. Sometimes I feel like they are just learning that it is important for mom to be responsible, but not them! We seem to need to point it out more, and let them live the consequences of not being responsible more often. I feel like I need to improve the structure of our lives in such a way that the children will realize more clearly that if they are not responsible with chores and helping around the house, or doing their homework, or sticking up for someone, or whatever else, they will be letting themselves and others down. Bottom line, it's a subject worth visiting and re-visiting.
This site is a tool to think and talk about different aspects of what is responsible. There are about 7 short videos you can watch that open up questions and discussion. Some of them are cartoons and most are on a level even a small child can understand and comment simply on it. Others will go over their heads. We watched 4 of them for family night and talked about what everyone thought about what they saw and how it applies in our home. The kids even wanted to see some of them like Hot Seat twice. This can be related to things like, replace the toilet paper roll when it's done, and don't waste it all at once! or the ever popular, "SHUT THE DOOR!" Some of the videos give a clear example of a great act and others leave the ending open and let you think about all the different options the character had to choose from. There is also a blog that brings up different things such as news stories and leaves open discussions. Of course people of all walks of life comment, so you may or may not agree with any one comment. There is a section called What is your policy? where you can define what you see as responsible. Also, there is an open resource guide and spots to tell your own stories.
I think it's nice that Liberty Mutual jumped on this interest to create a hub to get people talking. My point? Go on over and check it out, and put your 2 cents worth in.
And then, come back and tell me, what is the best thing you have done to teach your children responsibility?


Karlene said...

That was cool. Thanks for telling us about it.

How did I teach my kids responsibility? I have no idea, but they're all good, hard workers.

Allison said...

Excellent, well thought-out post! I'll have to add that book to my to-read list. Thanks so much!

Carrie and Troy Keiser said...

Thanks for sharing this site and the book. I too have seen these ads.
Teaching responsibility is a daily battle. They each have 2 chores a day and after they think they are done, we check and they are responsible to redo it if it's not right. I hope that we are getting the point across.

4boyzmdmom said...

I've seen those ads too. They fell a little flat with us because we actually have Liberty Mutual insurance, and our rates have gone up, up, up over the years! We've really been planning to switch. However, I agree that responsibility is so important and we will check out the website--does sound like a great FHE idea! What am I doing to teach my kids? I'm trying to be a good example of responsibility myself all the time. I also try to let them make mistakes and see what happens when they aren't responsible.