Saturday, January 14, 2012

Spinning my wheels over Personal Responsibility

I spend a fair amount of time thinking about how to instill personal responsibility into children. Particularly children who have daily challenges (whether it be due to poverty or an unstable home life). Partly after watching my own children grow and partly due to watching kindergartners over the past twenty-some years. I have neither the education nor the research to make a sweeping statement about whether children have changed drastically over the past 50 years. Though there is no denying that our world has changed. Let me be clear, I don't believe in the "good old days". Change is change, some good and some bad.

But this issue of personal responsibility keeps my brain going. Are children born with this knowledge/instinct? Is it environmental? Or perhaps a mixture of both (like so many things)?  Most importantly (and what drives my thoughts) can it be taught?

There is so much crap going on in the lives of some children, it seems to me perhaps if there was some way to put their future in their own hands it might give them some hope, drive, ambition. Or maybe I'm a crazy idealist.

Let's see if I can put my "shower epiphany" into words that make sense to others.

Before it all began, a well thought out plan would be imperative. It wouldn't work with a seat of the pants attitude. (I believe you must invest in an idea or don't bother) A video presentation for students would be created--a creative, visual map to show them the plan, the pitfalls and the rewards. (Shown yearly?)

  • Each child would be given a yearly account accessible via a debit card. (Starting at 4th or 5th grade?)
  • They would meet up with a personal "budget counselor" 4 times a year. (what do you need vs. want)
  • Bonuses would be given for a variety of things: exceptional work, gpa, volunteering, tutoring, frugality
The end goal would be to finish school with enough funds to enter college and the confidence and experience to know how to apply for assistance via working in cafeteria, etc. to keep their momentum. Maybe with the option to continue with the program until they complete college?

*wish I had a clue how to keep their funds from being misused by others.

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