Are You a Responsible Person?
Being responsible puts you in charge of your life.
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If you are using the video, ask question 1 before viewing.
1. Do you consider yourself to be a responsible person? Why? In what ways?
2. The people in the video identified several aspects of responsibility. What were they? Do you agree with them? What does responsibility mean to you?
3. Do you consider it important for your friends and family members to be responsible? Why?
4. Carlos said, "Maybe the real question is not 'what am I going to do,' maybe it's 'what kind of person do I want to be?'" What did he mean by that?
5. Think about somebody you know who is very responsible. How does that person demonstrate responsibility? Does that make you respect him/her more?
6. The girl who hit the parked car felt she had to report it. Why take responsibility for something nobody saw you do?
7. What does the golden rule have to do with responsibility?
8. What is the relationship between blaming and responsibility? How did Dr. Mike change blaming others into a tool for teaching responsibility? Think about what some of your biggest problems are in school. Do you blame anyone for those problems?
9. Dr. Mike told Carlos responsibility is power. What did he mean? Do you agree?
10. How did Lateefah's story make you feel? What did you learn from it?
11. Lateefah said, "My future is up to me." Do you agree with that idea? Explain. What would Lateefah's life be like, if she did not take personal responsibility for changing it?
12. How does Lateefah's story demonstrate the power of taking responsibility?
13. It's been said that "There are no rights without responsibility, and there is no responsibility without rights." What does that mean? Do you agree? What is the relationship between rights and responsibilities?
14. Dr. Mike said we need to separate problems into three categories: ones we have no control over, ones we have some influence over, and ones we have total control over. How would it help resolve our problems to look at them in this way?
15. Anika quotes her grandmother as having said, "You can't control what life puts at your doorstep, but you have complete control over how you respond to it." What does that mean? How can you apply this principle to your daily life?
16. What does being responsible have to do with the quality of your character?
17. What are the benefits of being a responsible person? How do you benefit from the responsibility of others?
18. Did the video present any ideas you disagree with?
To find elementary and middle school teaching guides on Responsibility and related topics,
1. What responsibilities do you believe you personally have for: 1) yourself, 2) your family, 3) your community, 4) the world?
2. Think of an instance when you were impressed by the way a teenager took responsibility for something. Write a news story (or letter to the editor) about this person.
3. Write a letter to someone in the news who did something that you think was irresponsible. Be specific about why you don't think it was right and why you think this action sets a bad example. Mail the letter.
4. Write an essay about the relationship between your age and level of responsibility. How do responsibilities differ for people your age and for older adults? How has your sense of responsibility changed as you have gotten older? At what age should we become totally responsible and accountable for our actions?
5. Write at least five things you could say to yourself when you are tempted to act irresponsibly. Explain the meaning and significance of each.
6. Describe something you've done that was really irresponsible. How did you feel afterward? What did you learn from it?
7. Describe what this society might be like if nobody was accountable for their actions, if nobody kept their commitments.
Other teaching guides in this series:
1. Have your students visit this website <www.goodcharacter.com> and click on "Opportunities for Action." There they will find opportunities to become involved in activities and issues relating to personal and social responsibility.
2. Divide the class into small groups. Have each group develop a list of do's and don'ts for being a responsible person. (See our list at the top of this column or look on page 5 in the video discussion guide.) Have them make oral reports to the class addressing the following questions: What happens when people live in accordance with these guidelines. What happens when they don't. In what ways does irresponsible behavior affect our community and society? In what ways can/do young people demonstrate personal responsibility?
3. Role play: You've made a commitment to spend the weekend working on your part of a class project that's due Monday. Then, some friends invite you to go on a weekend camping trip in the mountains. You can't do both, so you decide to go on the camping trip. Try to explain your decision to the other people working on the class project. After the role play, have the class analyze what each person did to accomplish his/her objective. What general principles or guidelines can be drawn from this incident about responsibility?
4. Have several students search for the word "responsibility" on the Internet. Make a list of resources. Then create a Responsibility Web Page with links to these resources. E-mail this list to several of the websites recommending that they link to these resources.
GOOD CHARACTER IN SPORTS
Are you an athletic coach or recreation director? Would you like some ideas to help you develop the virtue of caring in your athletes? Then click here for Responsibility & Sports.
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