Taking Responsibility for Our Actions
Teaching our kids to take responsibility for their actions and choices can be difficult but is a gift we as their parents can give them.
How many times now do we turn on the news, listen to the radio, or overhear someone express how someone else’s actions forced a certain reaction from them.
I hear it all the time in our house of 5 kids. “But s/he made me do it!”
Anytime that phrase “he made me do it” gets thrown out, I can’t help but chuckle. (Not only because my first instinct is always to laugh, but because I remember trying to place blame on someone else too.)
I mean really, who wants to get in trouble for their actions? No one! It’s so much easier to try and pass the buck than to accept responsibility…or is it?
This is another lie that Satan tires to thrown our way.
Taking Responsibility Provides Relief
It may be difficult to accept responsibility, especially when we royally goof up, but it provides a relief too. It forces us to confess and repent, and it takes the weight off our shoulders of hiding what we have done.
Yes, we still have to face the consequences but we can beg and plead for grace. Grace is often extended when we readily admit that we have done wrong and are actually remorseful over it.
It’s when we try to cover up our guilt to save ourselves that we pile on the consequences. We see this as adults and we see this when dealing with children.
I didn’t do it…
As an only child, I often tried to blame spills and messes on my cat. Blaming the cat became a habit that was difficult to break.
One day I accidentally, ran into a potted plant and instead of taking the time to rectify the situation, I just went on with my day and when my mom asked about it, I blamed the cat.
I was quickly caught in the lie because the cat had died a few weeks earlier. So not only did I get in more trouble, but I gave my mother a reason to question my truthfulness.
Losing her trust was more difficult to deal with than picking up the dirt would have been.
Taking Responsibility is Empowering
Teaching responsibility is a lesson we must teach through our examples more so than our words. We know that kids always focus more on what we do than what we say. Gifting the example of putting our pride down and choosing to act right no matter what anyone else does, will bless them throughout their life.
I tell our kids all the time:
No matter how the other person reacts, you get to choose your reaction.
So whenever anyone acts in a horrific way towards us, instead of sinking to that level, we can choose to be kind and remind our kids that Jesus calls us to love everyone no matter how they react towards us.
But to you who are listening I say: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.
– Jesus, Luke 6:27-28
Isn’t that empowering! It’s exciting to think that our moods and actions are not dictated by someone else. When we teach our kids this, they then can stop thinking they are a marionette puppet in someone else’s puppet show. They can know the truth that their choices have the power to do good in a world full of evil and they do not have to be overcome by it. Praise be to the Lord Jesus Christ who through his Spirit can gift us the ability to love those who hate us and try to mistreat us!
Let’s take that stance with our children. It’s our responsibility to teach them to take responsibility for their actions. It takes time, patience, and consistency, but our families and our society will benefit greatly from it. More importantly, our Lord will be glorified because of it!