Who doesn’t appreciate a nice sincere “Owning Up???” I’ve told my students countless times, “No one ever got hurt taking responsibility and admitting to a mistake.” On the contrary, it well serves to build trust, respect, reliability, friendship, and loyalty, among many other virtues. It is from where we experience great personal growth, and in turn, become effective mentors.
In teaching this monumental virtue, modeling alone falls far short, and simply telling a child/youth that being accountable demonstrates integrity doesn’t always cut it. So, the $60 million question: how do we promote value in the act of being accountable? We discuss and create a heightened awareness by spotlighting the humble person who confesses, who is human enough to expose themselves with the truth, can laugh at their own mistakes, who brings to light and corrects a mistake or flaw, and who shines brightly with integrity.
Accountability, stated so eloquently by others:
“It is wrong and immoral to seek to escape the consequences of one’s acts.” Mahatma Ghandi
“If you want children to keep their feet on the ground, put some responsibility on their shoulders.” Abigail Van Buren
“The willingness to accept responsibility for one’s own life is the source from which self-respect springs.” Joan Didion
“It is not only what we do, but also what we do not do, for which we are accountable.” Moliere
“The ancient Romans had a tradition: whenever one of their engineers constructed an arch, as the capstone was hoisted into place, the engineer assumed accountability for his work in the most profound way possible: he stood under the arch.” Michael Armstrong
In keeping with the Fundamental theme then, we should feel compelled to live and exemplify this foundational virtue, and impart it not just to our young, but to anyone who had minimal reinforcement growing up. For if we all demonstrated this one virtue, the rest would happily fall into place.