Principal’s Perspective: Be Proactive
Developing the ability to be proactive is the first principle listed in the book, The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People by Steven Covey. From the beginning, God has revealed through the scriptures that success is possible through the responsible choices we make every day. The Lord never allowed people to complain with a victim mentality; God has always challenged people to trust him in every situation.
Imagine how excited you would be if your children never complained, criticized, questioned or blamed others, but always demonstrated gratitude, acceptance and took full responsibility for their actions? This is what Covey calls being proactive. You could confidently predict that their lives would be full of wisdom, great relationships, a fulfilling career and eternal life.
Being proactive is realizing that we have a personal responsibility over what happens to us.
Children who often misbehave possess the false idea that they have no control over the circumstances that impact their lives. Such children take one of three paths through life:
(1) reacting to difficulties with depression
(2) seeking fulfillment through fantasy or chance
(3) living a life of rebellion.
They fail to realize the problem they experienced might have been avoided if they had been responsible.
In contrast, those children with a strong sense of personal responsibility believe that they do have control over the events in their life. They state their belief as, “What happens to me is largely a result of the decisions I make and the effort I put forth.” These people really believe they can win people over and solve problems. They have no desire to act like a victim and blame others for their misfortune.
A Personal Relationship With Jesus
Our first thought to bring about the development of personal responsibility in ourselves or our children, should be the recognition of a personal relationship with Jesus. With the Lord empowering us all things are possible. The Lord instills within his followers the resolve and passion to accept his will and see the wisdom that comes from a life of holiness. Guiding our children to know Jesus through conversation, prayer and Bible reading will equip them to accept their responsibilities.
A Sense of Self Responsibility
Secondly, it is effective when parents and educators can instill within the children a sense of self-responsibility when they model this valuable behavior in front of the children. Children who see their parents calmly responding to difficult people or circumstances begin to believe that responsible choices can often positively influence the outcome of any situation. When children observe angry and/or irresponsible adults, this image becomes imprinted upon them as the norm. Also, it can be very damaging to a child’s growth if the parent interferes with the logical process of consequences. Natural or logical consequences teach more to a child than lectures or threats. It is through proper responses towards every day problems that our children learn that their choices often determine the outcome within their lives.
Avoid Excessive Strictness or Casual Permissiveness
Lastly, adults must avoid the “terrible twins” of excessive strictness or casual permissiveness. If we over-control our children and never give them reasonable choices, they will become self-defeated or rebellious. If we are too permissive, it will produce insecurity and a lack of initiative. Parental leaders must instill within children the belief that empathy, reasonable choices, clear limits, and consequences can enrich their lives. Children who choose to be proactive will place themselves in the position where the Lord will be able to bless them abundantly. Let us be encouraged by God’s promise that if children obey their parents, He will give them a long and prosperous life.