Why responsibility is the most important value we can teach our children
We live in a pass-the-buck society, with a new generation increasingly lacking in personal responsibility.
As parents we are charged with the task of morally educating our children, however we may see fit. Teaching our kids about responsibility is a life-long parenting challenge that starts small - pick up your toys, look after your belongings - and ends big; do the right thing, don't be an asshole.
Our political establishment has long been adept at the blame game, and shifting fault elsewhere is par for the course. Official inquiries and tribunals are an excellent way of doing something without, of course, actually having to do something.
Millennials get a tough time in the media for their 'me, me, me' approach to life. Be it entirely accurate or not, our children and grandchildren may well struggle to see outside this pervasive mindset, unless we drive home the importance of individual, personal responsibility.
This value begins and ends with ourselves. Yes, it's one that is tied to duty, obligation, loyalty, and commitment, but for me a sense of responsibility equals respect - for others and for ourselves. A quality that appears to be lacking in the modern era.
If I pass on nothing else to my kids, the best I can hope for is that they will be responsible to themselves by respecting their own choices, behaviours, actions and bodies, and that they will afford others the same thoughtfulness.
I hope that if they make a mistake, they will be able to own it and try to make it right to the best of their ability.
I hope that their responsibility to themselves, and to doing the right thing, will make big decisions less anxiety-inducing and small decisions a little easier.
I hope that they understand the true power of words, of hate, and of love. And I hope they realise, that in the end, we are all responsible for our own happiness.
Some may disagree, or think it pointless in a world of flexible morals and shallow commitments, but I will continue to teach my children not to talk, but to act; not to say, but to show; not to promise, but to prove.