ISR Students are Responsible Individuals

posted Oct 4, 2014, 12:37 AM by Barry Johnson ISR   [ updated Oct 4, 2014, 12:39 AM ]
Being a responsible individual has so many connotations that it is difficult to discuss this in a paragraph. The expectation that our students will take responsibility for themselves (and thus become an asset to the community) is large and broad and encompasses so many aspects of character. For instance, taking responsibility might include admitting to having done something that was wrong or detrimental to others or to property (“Yes, I broke the I-pad”, “Yes, I pushed my friend out of the way so that I could have the good seat.”). This type of responsibility is difficult to take when there are consequences that involve shame or no obvious way to fix the situation. Of course, natural or logical consequences should follow all such actions (“I am sorry that you broke the I-pod, you will not have one for the next few weeks.” “Looks like in your rush to get on the bus, you chose to push your friend, you will be getting on the bus last for the rest of the week.”). Making sure that the consequences are immediate, natural or logical and appropriate and not do not demean the child’s sense of self will lead to a much better outcome than unrelated punishments. 

 It is essential, if we want the children to be able to take responsibility, that we also demonstrate our adult willingness to “own” our mistakes, pointing out when we make mistakes and how we address them. In addition it is important that we provide “shame-free” opportunities for the kids to take responsibility, ask for pardon and then fix the problem. Being able to say, “I screwed up, and this is how I fixed it.” is a life skill that will help our children to become better citizens, and more responsible students, individuals and family members as they grow up. 

On a personal note, I would like to thank all of this community, from the bottom of my heart, for the care and comfort you have offered as my family and I have struggled through our challenge with the illness of our daughter, Madeline. Her radiation is complete (for the next six months) and her last scan came back “clear” on Wednesday. My husband, Bruce, will be coming to Indonesia this weekend to join me at last. Your invitations to talk, eat, share rides to town and just listen have gotten me through this last two months. In spite of adversity, this has been an abundant fall and I feel that I have received a bountiful harvest of friendship and goodwill from wonderful people who have been so generous with their time and spirit. Thank you.
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