"Keeping it R.E.A.L. in 2015" (Responsibility Equals Accountability and Leadership)

I’ve been thinking about… Responsibility As most of you heard at Back to School Night – we have a theme for this year – Responsibility. Faculty, Students, and yes, even Parents will have the opportunity to explore this theme in an organic way throughout the school year.

I recently read this blog on HuffPost. It’s all about reframing the typical milestones that we expect to see our children make. The three milestones she suggests we focus on all have something in common – children taking responsibility. While we are certainly not throwing away the milestones of walking, talking, reading and counting, talking about responsibility can help us rethink our goals for our children.

The recent article in the Washington Post titled, Are you raising nice kids?, also makes this point. Through his project, Making Caring Common, psychologist with the Harvard graduate school of education, Richard Weissbourd demonstrates that we have to raise children to be moral people; they are not born this way. Weissbourd and his team conducted a study that showed most children think “their parents were more concerned with their achievement or happiness than whether they cared for others.”

I am a big school person (this is how I refer to myself) – I love the rhythms of the school day and year. I love high quality, work-hard, challenging academics. I love the interaction and integration of subject matter such as between English and Social Studies, Math and Science, and General and Judaic Studies. I love reading and writing and ‘rithmetic. And I celebrate each milestone within the content areas every time our children reach success in ways appropriate for each learner. However, we can have all the success we want in these areas and still not be our best if we don’t take responsibility and learn how to treat others. As Jews and as human beings we are obligated to do this.

This school year we’ll focus on this idea of Responsibility (though it doesn’t stop after one year). We’ll talk about it and we’ll live it. As always, you are our great partners in all of the work we do here. So…what can you do?

  • Foster conversations with your children, not just about what they’re learning in each subject, but how they connect to one another and how they connect to the idea of Responsibility.
  • If/when they don’t automatically see these connections, raise them yourself – we find examples of this theme in literature, civics and social studies, and daily acts of giving tzedakah, following mitzvot and learning about our Jewish heritage.
  • Join our No Place For Hate task force – contact Ali Coyne at acoyne@kellmanbrownacademy.org. We are looking for parents to join us!
  • Have conversations with your children about what they are responsible for in their lives: homework, chores, kindness to others, etc. and what it means to them to have that responsibility.

That’s what I’m thinking about…what are your thoughts on Responsibility, Accountability, and Leadership ? Feel free to email me at ecook@kellmanbrownacademy.org.