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Topic: Workbooks

A Definition of Personal Responsibility

people being personally responsibleWhat is your definition of Personal Responsibility? Being responsible can mean many different things, depending on your circumstances and your world perspective. Is your world centered on a desperate street where more is spent on drugs than on food? Or, maybe, your world revolves around high finance, board room politics and country club society. Where you come from does not matter. What matters is how you see your world and what you want to achieve in that world. That will define your sense of Personal Responsibility.

Born in poverty with no family structure to guide you through your early years? Struggling to survive where gangs rule and violence is the norm? What you choose to do can mean the difference between escaping to a better place or drowning in the desperation that surrounds you. Your choices can send you in one direction or the other. Own your choices and you might, just might, make it to that better place. Taking Personal Responsibility for your choices will give you a decent shot at success.

Wealthy parents, elite education, surrounded by comfort and privilege? Sounds good on paper but what are you going to do with it? Make smart choices and a productive and fulfilling life can be yours. More important, you will have an opportunity to be of positive benefit to others, either by supporting programs that help the less fortunate or by being a role model for someone who has not yet developed positive habits. Did I say, “opportunity?” No, it is an “obligation.”

Make bad choices, however, and all that you have been given will melt away to nothing. The traps are out there. A heavy party scene and an indulgent life style, can lead to physical deterioration and decline. Even worse, it is easy to become complacent and let each day slide by without goals and direction (see the letter “G” in our Workbooks). This lack of motivation all but guarantees failure and mediocrity. Who wants that?

The details will differ but there is one common theme: your choices have consequences. If you live in a wealthy community and have all the security and comfort that comes with that life, your choices are no less consequential than those of someone living in back alleys, scratching for food every day.

Responsibility Workbooks

Teaching “responsibility” to young people is not easy.  Most mentors and teachers employ a two-step process.

First, the basic principles must be defined and discussed.  What constitutes responsible decision making?  Where have you seen an individual acting in a responsible manner?  What public figures have demonstrated a lack of responsibility in their conduct?  Asking these questions and discussing the findings is a good way to define responsibility.

Defining “responsibility” is important but it would be impossible to tell young people how to be responsible in every instance they might encounter.  It is equally important to equip the individual with the instinct to manage new choices in a responsible manner.  Thus, we have the second step in the process.

The second step is engagement.  Once the basics have been established, it is important to engage the person who is being taught.  Our workbooks have been designed to do just that.  Yes, the workbooks do comment on aspects of “responsibility.”  But next to each comment is a blank page.  The workbook user is then challenged to come up with his, or her, own “responsibility word” and write about it on the blank page.  The cognitive process of creating that responsibility word engages the user and increases the likelihood that the lesson will be retained.

Simply put, we strive to start a conversation which will lead to reflection.  Our workbooks allow the user to reflect on various aspects of responsibility in a benign, non-intimidating, environment.  By doing this the user gets to practice making responsible choices.  With enough practice, this will become habit.  Over time habit will become ingrained and will shape real life decision making.


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