Lets play a little question and answer game. Seven questions. We will ask, you answer. Then we will tell you the most common answers we get from other parents:
1. What would you LIKE to give your kids?
The most common answers:
2. What is the problem with this list of things we all want to give our kids?
The answer usually comes to parents quickly:
“None of them are things that can be given. They must be developed from within. That’s why so many of them start with ‘self’.”
Then we darken the mental atmosphere of the room a little bit, suggest candor and brutal honesty and ask…
3. “What ARE you giving your kids?”
There are always some positive answers…. “love,” “opportunity,” “education,” “freedom.”
But there are also a host of obvious negatives:
4. What SHOULD you be be giving them?
Consensus usually comes quickly…..and guiltily:
“Responsibility. We should be giving them more responsibility.”
5. “Is responsibility an easy thing to give?”
A host of answers:
“It’s easier to do things yourself”
“They don’t want it, won’t take it.”
“We don’t want them to fail.”
“Their friends don’t have it.”
So here is the problem: Responsibility is a tricky thing to give, and when we do try to give it, we find that it is not perceived or believed by the children we are trying to give it to.
It’s hard to just hand over responsibility. Most parents try it by saying something like this to their child:
“I’m giving you responsibility! So now you’ve got to start taking care of all your own stuff!”
And then nothing happens, absolutely nothing changes!
Well, take a moment and study that italicized quote above. There is one key word in it that we need to focus on. It is a little word. It starts with “O” and it is the key to more than you can imagine.
It is also the answer to the next question….
7. What CAN you Give our Children?
The little word is “own” and the answer to what we can give our kids is Ownership! It is only when they perceive ownership that they can begin to feel responsibility.