I’m writing today on behalf of Responsibility.org and #TalkEarly. I am honored to be an ambassador for them this year. I am paid for my involvement, but all opinions are my own.
“You have to learn to take responsibility for your own actions.”
We repeat this phrase over and over again in our house.
Do I care if my kids graduate with stellar grades? Not nearly as much as I care that they grow up to be responsible adults who realize their actions and decisions impact others.
And I will absolutely be the first to admit that that is a hard lesson to learn, and it’s something I still find myself having to fine-tune and re-focus on personally.
25 years ago, I perfected the RBF, rocked big bangs that bordered on mullet status, welcomed my baby brother, and Responsibility.org was created. (Also, let’s just acknowledge real quick that Leyna is my sister Kelly’s clone and there’s a lot of Kendall happening in me here.)
25 years ago, responsibility looked a whole lot different for me.
It was getting up and dressed and to school on time, knowing my mom had a newborn to take care of while my dad was out to sea- I was a Navy brat. It was doing homework, and trying super hard to get along with my annoying little sister. It was keeping up with my Pop Warner cheer uniform, and paying attention in practice.
It obviously did not mean applying sunblock on a regular basis back then. I mean, that tan? You guys. That’s not what my skin was made to do. But we lived in Hawaii and it was the 80’s & early 90’s and kids just got sunburnt, like, whatever.
Now, as a mother, responsibility is things like getting my kids dressed and ready for school on time, and keeping up with the 32 forms that come home every single day from their schools. (Remember when I talked about having to fine-tune some things? Yeah, that would be one of them.)
Responsibility is actually putting sunblock on my kids, and then putting the even more expensive, damage-reversing kind on me.
And it’s not just telling my kids they need to take responsibility for their own actions, but showing them that I will do the same. It’s drinking responsibly, and never driving drunk. It’s knowing my limits, and knowing that the kids are watching and learning every time they see me take a sip of wine. They are observing what I do next.
I talked about my relationship with Responsibility.org at the beginning of the year, and why I’m personally connected to the cause. (Our family has dealt with a lot of pain and loss because of alcohol and addiction.)
It’s not enough to preach responsibility to our kids. We all know this. We know the “do as I say, not as I do” line of thinking is BS.
But just as important as behaving responsibly in front of them, especially when it comes to alcohol, is also talking about times we and those we love have had to own up to our own bad choices and the consequences that followed, and take responsibility for those.
To me, that’s the final part of what responsibility is like for me now, it’s honesty and continuously working on myself, and it’s letting my kids see that happen, and hearing about why that’s so important.
I love that the #TalkEarly campaign encourages us to explore this theme- that responsibility starts with us. It’s a good reminder to all of us that our kids are watching and learning, and if we’re lucky and we do this right, they’ll do what we do, not just what we say to do.
I hope you’ll also take some time to think about what responsibility means for you now and how you can use that to #talkearly with your kids about responsible alcohol consumption.
Happy 25th anniversary Responsibility.org!