By Moira Gardener
Edited by Sarah Davidson
The dictionary definition of responsibility in this article refers to “the opportunity or ability to act independently and make decisions without authorization.” In other words how do we help our children grow up so they are not only independent from us but are a positive influence both towards themselves and others? I believe a large part of this involves ownership of things we actually have control of: our words and actions, and the choices we make.
Where do our thoughts and actions come from? They come from the heart. Whatever we plant in our heart will come out our mouth and be reflected in our behaviour. So what we say to our children and how we act around them is what they will absorb and eventually reflect back to us. Therefore it’s important to consider what we wish to plant in those young hearts. What will serve them well?
A good place to start is reflecting on God’s love, and how He has their best interest at heart. It’s also important they know God doesn’t make junk, and as God breathed beings we are His masterpiece. Each of us is special and has been given talents and gifts to enjoy and share with others. To be created by a loving heavenly father is enough, we are enough right now. God will take us as we are and do great things if we let him. But we have to choose it.
This brings us to choice. Being responsible is a choice. Choice is the brakes to our thoughts and actions. We may think something unkind for example, but even when we have an unkind thought we choose what we do with it. Teaching the concept of taking every thought captive (2 Cor. 10:5) is a tool for life and a way to be responsible with our thoughts. To apply the brakes of choice when the unkind thought pops into our head prevents hurtful actions. This is not an easy one. It means paying attention and often praying to God to take our hurtful thoughts and replace them with His own.
Teaching our children to pray is another tool, continuing with our example- when the tongue gets away on us, pray for its taming. The ultimate goal is to make choices for good and choices for God. Look at it this way. Our life is like building a tree house. We can make plans using the materials given to us, find a suitable tree and build a solid house. Or we chose to slap it together any old way using the first tree we see and then play the blame game when it doesn’t work out. (It’s too easy to blame God or others for giving us junky material to build with.) Another choice would be to walk away never building the house at all, claiming it’s not our responsibility.
Each one of us is made for a purpose, and we will not have peace until it’s fulfilled. So we can do life the hard way by blaming or giving up; going our own way mistakenly believing we’re junk. Or we can trust God has a master plan for us and chose His way.
One way to be responsible is to believe God wants the best for us, taking the materials of our life and building a solid tree house filled with good thoughts and actions. The result is forward motion. Trust God for He gives us the right materials at the right time for building solid lives.
But how do we plant the seed of responsibility in our lives and the lives around us? By acting responsible ourselves, using words to build up, and having clear boundaries about what is acceptable behaviour. Refuse to believe the lies we’re not good enough, have no talent or gift. Decide not to blame God or others.
Instead step back and try to see what God sees. Then pick up some nails and a hammer and start building. God has the end in mind so leave it to him and choose words that build up, and actions that demonstrate love. The reward for being responsible is trust and freedom. When we do what we say we will do, we earn trust. Trusted individuals are given greater responsibility. In the end you earn the freedom to act independently making your own decisions which hopefully move you forward and bring you closer to God and those around you.
* Responsibility means owning our words and actions and choosing to do the right thing for a positive outcome.
* We become responsible when we do the small things correctly and then earn the trust that we can be responsible for bigger things. In the end responsibility leads to freedom, maturity, and hopefully healthy relationships with God and human kind.
* Responsibility begins in the heart and becomes thoughts and actions. This is why it’s important to hide God’s word in the heart which becomes love in action poured out for building up ourselves and each other.
* We are responsible for ourselves: So own your thoughts, actions, and choices.
CHECK IT OUT
Galatians 6:5 - For each one will bear his own load.
Proverbs 22:6 - Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.
Luke 16:10 - He who is faithful in a very little thing is faithful also in much; and he who is unrighteous in a very little thing is unrighteous also in much.