Thursday, September 11, 2008

The Responsibility Project and doing the right thing

One night several years ago, while I lay sleeping, a bunch of teenage boys went on a little crime spree. They roared around the neighborhood I lived in and threw several huge rocks through the back windows of cars parked in the street. My trusty old car was unlucky enough to be in their path and I woke the next morning to the sound of a policeman knocking on my door. He told me my car had been vandalized and I burst into tears when I saw it. Rather dramatic, I know, but I was a student struggling to make ends meet, and purchasing a new rear window for my car was not in the budget.

As parents, it is our responsibility to teach our kids personal responsibility; to teach them what it means to do the right thing. The story I’ve just recounted came to mind when I visited Liberty Mutual 's The Responsibility Project. This is an entire website dedicated to helping parents talk with their kids about what it means to be personally responsible.

The site includes resources such as several short films, discussion guides, and a blog to help families teach and talk about personal responsibility. One of the films I watched was Transit, where a man witnesses a woman's purse being snatched just before he happens to board the same bus the thief boards. He goes from being just another passenger on a bus to having to make a tough moral choice.

Another film was Lighthouse, a beautifully animated piece, where a lighthouse keeper’s darkest hour turns out to be anything but - thanks to his altruistic community. Both films were thought-provoking examples of personal responsibility

The kids who vandalized my car while on their destructive spree were rounded up quickly enough. Apparently they vandalized several cars and a golf course, and they hadn’t been that discreet about their activities. The judge made them write letters of apology to delegated victims, and then he made them pay for the damages. My guy wrote his letter of apology, then sent me checks over several months until his debt was paid. I’m hoping those boys learned a lesson in personal responsibility, albeit the hard way.

Liberty Mutual has provided us with a great resource to help steer our kids toward making responsible choices in their daily lives. Visit The Responsibility Project with your kids, watch a few of the short films, then discuss with them what it means to do the right thing. Help steer them away from the kinds of choices those kids made the night they chose to vandalize the property of others, and you'll be one step closer to raising children who will contribute toward making our world a better place.

This review courtesy of Mom Central.


Haasiegirl said...

i am so sorry about your car. I would kick my childs butt. Honestly, they would be washing the cars of every person in the neighborhood if that ever happened. YOu are so right on being honest and teaching our kids!


Allison said...

Wow, what a story! This is a great post. Definitely a lesson in what responsibility means!

c-grl said...

With a baby boy bakin' I just hope I'm up to the challenge of teaching him right from wrong. Especially as I seem to live in an environment where education is not top priority, and parents are are friends first, disciplinarians 2nd, 3rd...okay maybe even a lot further down the list. Nice to see some supportive sites.