Tuesday, February 3, 2009

With Freedom Comes Responsibility

I'm not sure who said it or where it came from, but I couldn't agree more: With freedom comes responsibility. As a teacher, I see the importance of teaching this lesson on a daily basis. Sure, we have the freedom to speak as we choose, think as we choose, expose ourselves to things of our choice, but with that freedom comes the responsibility to think about those things and respond when necessary. In other words, we have the responsibility to do the right thing when we notice something is wrong-- even if it's hard or uncomfortable. Of course, we then have to ask ourselves what is the right thing and who determines it. I am, however, a firm believer that teaching what is right and wrong falls on the community we grow up in-- our families, neighbors, friends, teachers, schools, etc.-- and when we fail to teach responsibility people get hurt and all hell breaks loose. Perhaps, that's why our nation is in its current state??

Now, more than ever, I understand the importance as a teacher to demand that my students take responsibility for themselves, their choices, and actions. Usually the lessons of responsibility I teach are small potatoes (dealing with missing work, getting to school on time, owning up to mistakes, etc.), but if I don't teach my students how to be responsible now, it could lead to something more serious in the future. I'll be honest, I'm a little overwhelmed by that responsibility, but I won't be able to sleep at night if I don't do my part.

Unfortunately, I have found myself in a situation where I am negatively affected by someone who didn't take responsibility for his/her actions. It's so hard for me to fight my anger against this person, to acknowledge it but not let it consume me. I'm also finding it hard to know what exactly I should do-- deciding which action is the responsible action. I am in a position where I could either walk away, do nothing, and quietly deal with the consequences of this person's actions. Or, I could take the risk of holding this person accountable for what happened and hope that in some way it might teach the importance of responsibility in the light of irresponsibility.

I am left to ponder. Do I walk the talk, or do I walk away? In the mean time, I guess I'll more conscientiously do my part to teach responsibility in my classroom--I just hope this is the lesson that sticks.


Don said...

"I'm a little overwhelmed by that responsibility, but I won't be able to sleep at night if I don't do my part."

"Walk the talk, or walk away."

Sometimes the only person who learns what we teach is us. Modeling responsibility is as important as talking about it: perhaps, more so.

But you already knew that, because that's what you teach.

And that's why you sleep so well at night. ;-)

Miss H~ said...

Thanks for the encouragement, as usual. It's a tough issue and such a tough thing to teach. Thanks for helping me keep my chin up! :)