Every parent naturally strives to raise children who are respectful and responsible—as much for their child’s sake as for their own peace of mind. Yet in this interconnected global village in which we all now live, character traits like courtesy and cooperation are only a first step.
To truly be a world citizen, confidence and compassion, creativity and collaboration, as well as comprehension and capabilities, must also be key elements in the expanding skillset of every child. Parents should want their children to not only to be increasingly prepared to compete on a global scale but also to become people of integrity and sensitivity.
Of course, such admirable goals for our youth will only be accomplished when parents and teachers join as allies in education and as partners in the nurturing of children. From the family room to the classroom and back again, all kids should experience a cohesiveness that attends to the whole child.
Thankfully, parents and teachers are beginning to embrace the importance of equally honoring and developing the social, emotional, soulful, and academic needs of every child. Merely saying we want to raise responsible children is only one part of our end goal for 21st century kids.
Being Responsible Means Being Reliable and Responsive
Responsibility does not just mean accountability. More than simply taking credit or blame for the end result of one’s choices, responsibility also entails consistent reliability and trustworthiness, even before any action is taken. Adults must progressively cultivate this type of maturity and autonomy in every child so that the youngster’s good reputation precedes them.
Of course, these honorable traits are vital not only in the workplace but in cyberspace, where kids today are routinely interacting with peers from around the world. For better or for worse, the digital footprints children leave today may haunt or help them many years hence. Thus, it is imperative that we train kids to truly be responsible.
To that end, being responsible also means being responsive and attuned to the feelings and needs of others. This empathy component is just as crucial as being dependable, honest, and respectful.
Bullying and badmouthing anyone in any setting, be it on the playground or on social media, are not only unkind and destructive, they are the insidious ways we like to pretend that some of our fellow human beings are fundamentally different from us or are not deserving of common dignity and regard.
Responsible global citizens, however, build bridges, create community, and seek mutually beneficial solutions. These are the types of kids that today’s parents and teachers jointly strive to raise and educate.
Worthy Adult Role Models and Guides
Yet it is not nearly enough to simply tell kids to treat others as they would like to be treated, to believe in themselves, to pursue their dreams, and to take their schooling seriously. Parents and teachers must also be active, intentional role models for children, in both word and deed.
How do you as a parent, as well as your child’s teachers, live a life that exemplifies the balance between responsibility, relationship, and recreation? Do you put first things first, as well as often put others first? Do you also model perseverance as a means to filling your days with passion and purpose? Do you regularly display an attitude of gratitude that frequently manifests into actions of appreciation?
Thinking globally while acting locally takes on a whole new meaning when it comes to parents and teachers nurturing children to be responsible global citizens. Thanks to technology, this vast world has recently become a whole lot smaller, and we owe it to our kids to ourselves be ambassadors of leadership, love, laughter, and learning.
Our actions do indeed hold enormous influence on kids—right here, right now, right in our little living rooms and classrooms. If parents and teachers work together, each child will not only lead a life of personal success and satisfaction, they will also have a positive, productive impact on the world at large.
What are the ways you teach your children or students how to be responsible global citizens. Please share your insights, opinions, and experiences in the Comments section below.
For more on attending to the whole child and how teachers and parents can be allies in education, read the latest book by Robert Ward, Talented Teachers, Empowered Parents, Successful Students.