Accountability: Good for yourself and your kids
One of the best pieces of parenting advice I’ve heard was from a good friend who told me that if there’s one thing she teaches her kids, it’s too be accountable for their actions.
I thought about this for a long time and I’ve realized that even her select choice of the word “accountable” vs. “responsible” makes a whole lot of sense. Most parents try to teach their children to be responsible. For example: Go to school, get good grades, get a good job, make sure you brush your teeth, keep your room clean.
All that seems to be like laborious drudgery if you ask me. Being responsible doesn’t sound like any fun at all, but being accountable — “ohh Mama, what’s that about??”
The word accountable seems have so much more authority. It’s about ownership, and has the air of power. What kid, or what adult, for that matter, doesn’t want power? When you’re accountable, you have no one else to blame for things that go wrong in your life. And when things do go wrong, you can make the decisive action to make things better. You own your outcomes, so you should pay attention to your actions.
I have a 4-year old. She is stubborn like wildfire. Definitely takes after her father 😉 She knows her power and she uses it wisely. I know that later in life, her confidence and fierceness will serve her well, but when you are trying to parent and you just want things to go easily and smoothly most days, defiance is not a welcome visitor.
I’m still trying to figure out how to teach my daughter how to be accountable for her actions. It’s challenging with a 4-year old because there is often a fine line between trying to teach her a lesson, while keeping her safe. Teaching my daughter about accountability connects to teaching her about consequences. I know that when she’s older it will be easier for her to understand that the consequence of an action is a result she is facing because of a choice she has made.
One of my favourite quotes of all time is by Bob Moawad. It reads:
~The best day of your life is the one on which you decide your life is your own. No apologies or excuses. No one to lean on, rely on or blame. The gift is yours. It is an amazing journey and you alone are responsible for the quality of it~
Understanding this allows me to keep focused on things that really matter. It keeps me in check daily with how I spend my time and who I spend my time with.
I use to make many excuses for why things weren’t happening in my life -– if only my husband would… if only my kids would… if I just had more money… if I only had more time. Maybe some circumstances are justifiable explanations of a situation, but I’m learning to identify when an explanation is truly an excuse, and when an excuse really just needs to be booted out the door so that amazing things can happen.
When we hold ourselves accountable, set our standards high, push ourselves out of our comfort zones, we risk greatness; and sometimes this is crazy scary. But there are so many more things that we would do if we knew we couldn’t fail. There are so many more things that we would strive for if we were guaranteed to succeed.
When we hold ourselves accountable for our actions, our journey is the destination. We are where we are supposed to be, doing what we are supposed to be doing, making adjustments along the way.
Do you hold yourself accountable for your actions? How could holding yourself accountable improve the quality of your life? As Bob Moawad said, “…the gift is yours…” Take it!
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