Thursday, August 16, 2012

accepting responsibility for our actions...even when it's hard

Just something I am thinking about today.

As Madelyn gets older, I am realizing just how tough it will be to teach her to take responsibility for her actions. She's tenderhearted and breaks down at the thought of disappointing anyone so helping her to see her mistakes almost always results in the most pitiful tears. Even harder than dealing with my sweet little one's crocodile tears is how unpopular it is in society to own up to our (make note that I said our-this is not a "what's wrong with everyone but me rant) mistakes.

The other day MK jumped off a chair and fell straight in to a wall. It hurt. She cried. A well meaning friend said, "That mean wall got you! Mean wall. (pointing finger at wall) You don't hurt Madelyn anymore wall". I laughed a little at the thought of MK's choice to disobey me and jump off a chair that she should not have been standing on resulting in pain being the fault of a wall. Today though, I have been realizing that even at two- nothing is ever her fault. Not even in the eyes of most adults!

I realize sometimes I over think things, but I don't think that is the case here. Working around children in the past and just being around children now, when something happens that isn't desirable I hear things like:

  • Who started it?
  • Who made you do that?
  • You saw _______ do that, didn't you?
  • The name an inanimate object  hurt you.
And that is from the adults! The list could go on and on. And I am guilty of it too. It's called blame shifting.

While it might not be that big of a deal at two, I know it will at 22! If MK doesn't learn to take responsibility for her actions now, what is going to change magically that at 22 she will own up to her less than perfect choices?

My sister was hit by another driver a couple of weeks ago that motioned her in to a parking lot to sort it out but then sped away. For whatever reason, he made the choice not to take responsibility for his mistake.

With the situation where I was shot by a dart, for whatever reason, some (lots) of people felt like it wasn't the fault of the people who actually shot me and another woman with a five inch metal dart. They were "boys being boys".

Heck, the other day I was late to a meeting (no surprise there-I am notoriously late) and instead of admitting to the fact that I left five minutes later than I should have because I woke up late, I made sure to mention the wreck I passed on the way.

I know I am rambling, but these are the thoughts in my head lately. My prayer is that in teaching Madelyn to accept responsibility for the choices she makes, she will be more driven to make the right choices. Not out of fear, but out of seeing that there is joy in doing the right thing. One of the most common scriptures that you hear when talking about parenting is Proverbs 22:6, "Train a child in the way he should go and when he is old, he will not turn from it." I read an old sermon by JC Ryle recently on parenting that gave a list of duties of a parent. One was:

  • If you want to train your children correctly, train them in the way they should go, and not in the way that they want to go.
Although it would be so much easier to not address some of Madelyn's bad choices for fear of the hurt feelings or tears (or screaming-let's just be honest) and to let her do whatever it is that she wants to do without fear of consequence-that's not what we are called to do. That is not what will set her up for a life that is pleasing to God and that brings Him glory.

So what do you do with your children to teach them to be responsible for their actions? We are working at it around our house, but I would love to know what you do too!


  1. amen girl. I haven't visited your blog in a while(haven't been blogging as much since our little man arrived) . I'm so sad I haven't bc it seems like we have a lot in common. Anyway, I love what you posted about. We aren't quite there yet, but all too soon we will be! great wisdom.

  2. I would suggest reading, "Love and Logic Magic" by Jim and Charles Fay. We use this a lot with Elise and need to more often. We have it, but I lent it to someone else. Otherwise I'd offer to let you borrow mine.

  3. Dear Kathryn, I wrote you an email recently but did not get a response. I think your poor choice in names for you child will result in bitterness and resentment towards you later in life. It is a shame that you could not come up with a name better than Madelyn Kate, used nine years prior to your child's birth by Kate Gosselin. She will forever be marred by your lack of originality. I have pity on you and her. It is possible to do a name change in case you were wanting to save her from the mean comments that will come when she enters school. Concerned, Hilda


Thank you for the comment love! :)

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