The other day I was chatting with someone who worked in a school. She recounted the tale of a student who had stolen something from a vending machine. The incident was caught on camera and the offending student was brought in to discuss it.
“I didn’t do it!” the student exclaimed. “But the camera recorded you doing it,” explained the administrator. “The camera lied on me!” was the student’s reply. He was absolutely unwilling to accept responsibility for his actions, even though there was no way he could deny them.
Maybe that sort of responsibility isn’t an issue in your home. Maybe your kids don’t do their chores well or when they are supposed to do them. Or perhaps, you are tired of them not taking care of their things or that they refuse to do the right thing without being prompted by you.
All of these areas fall under the category of responsibility. Responsibility is important for any child to master, but particularly so for the Christian child. God doesn’t hold us and our kids to the standards of the world, but a much higher standard. Yes, there is grace, but with grace also come responsibilities. Serving others, sharing our faith, obeying God and many more aren’t easy responsibilities. Your kids won’t be able to phone them in or neglect them and expect God to look the other way. They will need to become extremely responsible to be productive, godly Christians.
So what are some ways to help your kids become more responsible? There are many things you can try, but here are seven of my favorite tips.
- Explain to your kids God wants us to be responsible. Help them understand this means we keep our promises, take care of things without being asked or reminded and take the credit or blame for the results of our words and actions.
- Start by giving your kids small responsibilities and gradually make them larger and more difficult as your children get older.
- When giving your children a new responsibility, explain each step of completing that responsibility and demonstrate or teach each step if necessary.
- Be realistic about your children’s early attempts at a new responsibility. It may take some time to master it. Encourage your child during the learning process.
- Have a set structure and routine to your children’s day whenever possible. This will help your children remember to complete their responsibilities with less reminders. Make a visual schedule for your children if they struggle with remembering tasks.
- After a responsibility has been mastered, set and give consequences for failure to complete it well and in the time required.
- Remember to hold your children responsible for their actions and words and not just for completing tasks.
Teaching your children how to be responsible will make it easier for them to live a Christian life. It’s an important Christian Life Skill that is worth taking the time to teach well.