January Brings Responsibility

This month in St. Johns’ innovative Character Foundations program, Spartans of all ages will be studying responsibility, which is defined as proving you can be trusted with what is expected of you.

Part of St. Johns’ mission is to develop students who accept responsibility. Why is this so important in the lives of our students? “The ultimate goal of teaching responsibility is to raise young people who show self-control, self-discipline, self-management, and self-regulation,” says Director of Student Services Diane Landers. “Responsible students do what they are supposed to do and accept the consequences – both positive and negative- of their actions.” Teaching responsibility also instills in children a sense of independence and belonging to the collective effort. Giving kids responsibility for their actions, their belongings, and their home helps combat the sense of entitlement so evident in much of today’s society.
Not wanting children to fail can lead parents to do too much for their children; when this happens, the children don’t learn to take on the responsibility themselves. On the other hand, there are times when children do need guidance, support, or information so that they can learn how to be responsible.
Here are 5 steps to help your child learn responsibility:

T   Teach your child responsibility by giving them age-appropriate tasks and chores and modeling the behavior you want them to learn.
R Repercussions. Let your child sink or swim. Let them learn and deal with consequences.
U Uplift. Give praise, stay positive and give specific examples of what they are doing well.
S Support. Give support and reminders. Do not step in and take over.
T Try Again. Never give up. Help your child learn from his/her mistakes and commit to trying harder next time.

Throughout the month of January, you can reinforce at home the messages your child will be hearing at school by sharing books about responsibility. Here are some ideas:

Lower School
Nanette’s Baguette by Mo Willems (PK-2)
The King of Bees by Lester Laminack (K-2)
Ladybug Girl and Bingo by David Soman (K-2)
Rules of the House by Mac Barnett (K-2)
Arthur’s Pet Business by Marc Brown (K-3)
The Firekeeper’s Son by Linda Sue Park (K-3)
Ox-Cart Man by Donald Hall (K-3)
Shelter Pet Squad: Jelly Bean by Cynthia Lord (1-3)
The Babe and I by David Adler (1-5)
Keep the Lights Burning, Abbie by Peter Roop (1-5)
The Universe of Fair by Leslie Bulion (3-5)
Judy Moody Declares Independence by Megan McDonald (3-5)

Middle & Upper School
The Giver by Lois Lowry (Grades 6-12)
Princess Ben by Catherine Murdock (Grades 6-12)
All These Things I’ve Done by Gabrielle Zevin (Grades 7-12)
Suite Scarlett by Maureen Johnson (Grades 7-12)
Perfect You by Elizabeth Scott (Grades 7-12)
Prom by Laurie Halse Anderson (Grades 7-12)
Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher (Grades 7-12)
First Part Last by Angela Johnson (Grades 8-12)
I Am the Messenger by Markus Zusak (Grades 9 -12)
The Moon and More by Sarah Dessen (Grades 9-12)
Zeroes by Deborah Biancotti, Margo Lanagan and Scott Westerfeld (Grades 9-12)
Rules for Hearts by Sara Ryan (Grades 10-12)
Tales of the Madman Underground by John Barnes (Grades 10-12)