Accountability, or “Why I am a ‘mean’ Mom”

Accountability breeds responsibility – Stephen Covey


More and more lately, I see examples of the consequences of a lack of accountability in members of today’s society.  I am reminded of “The Little Red Hen”, a story I learned as a child.  In this classic folktale, the little red hen wants to make some bread and each step along the way she hopes to enlist the help of the other farm animals.   When she asks the animals for help with planting the wheat and harvesting and milling the wheat, the answer from each of the animals is “Not I”.  She tries again when it is time to knead the flour, mix the dough and bake the bread and is once again told “Not I” when she asks who will help her.  After completing every step alone, she takes the mouth-watering bread from the oven only to see the other animals greedily eyeing the freshly baked bread.  She asks who will help her to eat the bread and finally receives an affirmative answer from every one of the animals.   At this point, she tells the lazy animals that because she completed every task alone, she and her chicks will eat the bread all alone as well.

Every accountable child of God needs to set goals, short- and long-range goals.  A man who is pressing forward to accomplish worthy goals can soon put despondency under his feet, and once a goal is accomplished, others can be set up. – Ezra Taft Benson

The ant and the grasshopper is another tale of the consequences of laziness and irresponsibility.  The grasshopper sings and dances through the summer when food is plentiful while the ant steadily works to build a storehouse of food for the leaner months ahead.  The grasshopper laughs at the diligent ants, but finds later on that the ants had the right idea when he is left to starve when winter comes.

I wonder if these stories are shared much anymore.  I know I read them to my children when they were little and tried to lead them to the moral of the stories; that when a reward or goal is desired, effort must be put forth in order to achieve that goal.   While my children certainly were not lacking for anything, including toys, I did not feel the need to provide them with every thing their hearts desired. I know that when we have to put forth effort in order to obtain something, we value it more than when it is just handed to us.  Allowing our children to work for the items they desire assures that the items will be well cared for because a part of them went into obtaining these items.

An essential part of teaching children to be disciplined and responsible is to have them learn to work. – James E. Faust

When children are old enough, certainly by high school, a part-time job is an excellent way to teach them responsibility and accountability.  Through working, children learn how long it takes to earn a dollar and are therefore less likely to spend that dollar on frivolous things.  It is amazing how frugal a child can be once the money she spends on items comes from her own pocketbook.  I am a strong supporter of holding children (and everyone else) accountable for their behavior and actions.  Both of my boys held jobs during high school and at the present time, and my daughter will do the same when she is old enough.  I firmly believe that the best gift we can give our children is our time and our knowledge.  If they want the latest gadget or fashion, they will work until they have money to buy the coveted item.  By being a “mean mom” and limiting the material gifts and money I give my kids, I hope that I am teaching them to value people and experiences more than things.  I hope the legacy I leave my children is to have truly given them wings of responsibility and accountability to soar with rather than an open hand waiting for a handout.

About Beth W.

I try to look for the positive in the people and situations I come in contact with! I believe in the power of positive thinking and I believe that even challenging circumstances can be learning experiences if we have a positive mindset! I'm having fun blogging at:
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9 Responses to Accountability, or “Why I am a ‘mean’ Mom”

  1. aj vosse says:

    Too true!! Too many kids today have had growing up far too easy!! I’m talking from experience… we have a few young men in the house who occasionally need to be reminded of their priorities! 😉

    • Beth W. says:

      Thank you, AJ! It’s not always the easiest thing to hold the kiddos accountable, but in the long run it is worth it! 🙂 Thanks for reading and commenting!! 🙂

  2. lumar1298 says:

    So true… I heard the story as a child too…

    • Beth W. says:

      Yes, it’s a story that sticks with you, doesn’t it? 🙂 And really, I think we appreciate things so much more when we have a hand in obtaining them! Thanks for commenting!

  3. Melanie L. says:

    I don’t think anyone would disagree with this post!

  4. Livonne says:

    I agree.. I also expected my sons to help around the house with no other reward than the fact that it made their home function better.. I refused to reward them for doing the everyday things, though I did thank them to encourage them to do more.

  5. kagould17 says:

    Kids need to learn the value of money. We gave our kids an allowance, not as a wage for doing chores (chores were expected) but as a way to teach them money does not grow on trees and once it runs out, they have to wait for their next allowance before they can buy anything more. Budgeting is a good tool to learn. Stay well Beth. Allan

    • Beth W. says:

      That is a great way to teach budgeting. 😊 I agree completely that there should be chores expected just as being part of a family. 😊 I always appreciate your insightful comments Allan! Have a wonderful day!

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