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Monday, April 1, 2013

My blog for 4/1/13 Teaching Responsibility

When Danielle (Danny)  was twelve years old, she wasn’t particularly interested in just about anything,  including schoolwork, athletics, hobbies, computer-driven games, etc.  Her parents were frustrated.  So, they gave her some responsibilities that would engender self-confidence. They turned all of their household budgeting over to Danny.  She was responsible to pay all the credit card bills, the utility bills, take care of the cash budget and in general be the household’s money manager or the family bills really would go unpaid and all of them would have to live with the consequences.

The telephone bill went first.  Danny forgot to pay it on time, received a notice of disconnect, and immediately got it caught up.  Next came the gas bill, which went neglected until the heat was turned off.  Danny was responsible for “finding” the funds to pay that utility’s re-establishment fine.  The family was without heat in the middle of winter.  So Danny became responsible for hunting, cutting and bringing in firewood so she and the rest of the family had some heat.  Meanwhile, they all wore a lot of clothing.
It was a little touch-and-go at their house for two years before Danny got the discipline to follow through on obligations. 

As things progress in life, the siblings grew up and were gone from their home by that time, and the parents found work in another town on a temporary basis.  Danny was still in school, so she lived in the house of their small town by herself while her parents were gone making a living for the three of them.  She paid the bills, she made her own food, got herself to school and back, athletics and back, wrote birthday cards to family members, and bought clothes/shoes on her budget.  She slept and ate when she wished, she washed clothing and cleaned house by herself.  Her support was a cell phone she paid the bill for monthly to keep in touch with her parents.

Today Danny is the most responsible person, the most independent person, the most industrious person I know.  She found work to pay her way through college after messing up the first semester and having to start over again.  She worked as a path-clearer for the Bureau of Land Management during the summers to earn school money.  Last year she graduated from college.
If she had gone without the responsibility her parents foisted off on her, there would have been a fifty-fifty chance as to whether she'd ever have developed into a productive member of society.
If you don’t mind surprises as to whether you’ll have any utilities tomorrow, what this family did just might be a remedy for motivationally-challenged children.

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