Responsibilities are what separate an adult from a child. While many people believe that a person’s childhood should be as carefree as possible, there are consequences when an adult fails to teach the younger ones the value of responsibility.
Like Jonah, who ran away from his duty, the consequences of his neglect often come back to haunt him. While we can’t expect a giant fish to swallow us whole, we do have to understand that failing to honor our tasks can harm us in the long term.
Here are some ways to teach the value of responsibility to children:
1. Set age-appropriate tasks. Children have limited knowledge and a set of skills. It wouldn’t be fair to expect them to perform heavy-duty tasks at such a young age. Some examples include: putting away their toys, cleaning their rooms, taking care of their personal hygiene, and ensuring their school work is finished before bedtime.
2. Set a great example. Children often look to adults for guidance. When we fail to set an example, it would be hard for them to understand the value of responsibility if we don’t heed our own words.
3. Give praise for their effort. Sometimes children have a hard time performing tasks. Encourage them to see things through by praising their effort and hard work. Avoid criticism and provide guidance one step at a time until they accomplish their task.
4. Make chores fun. Many people often avoid responsibilities because we deem them “boring” and a “hassle.” To prevent such a mindset from taking over, make chores fun for you and your child. Some examples include playing music, making a game out of who can clean their room the fastest, and providing rewards after performing a big task.
Responsibilities are part of growing up. It also raises our self-esteem and enhances our relationships with each other. When we learn to care for ourselves and others, we honor God’s word of administering his grace and sharing it freely.
by Chad Groen
Author of Jonah: Beyond the Whale