Education is more than learning the reading, writing, counting and social skills necessary to survive and thrive. Underpinning all of the lessons we discover in the journey from childhood to adulthood is the process of gradually accepting greater responsibility for ourselves and becoming less reliant on the adults who support us. Boys and girls enjoy and grow when given responsibility appropriate to their age and abilities. They often thrive when given extra responsibility.
As adults, we can be tempted to do too much for our kids for too long. It is important to let boys and girls have a go for themselves and develop greater self-responsibility, by encouraging responsibility from the early years. Sometimes this will mean our children will experience failure – rather than seeing this as a negative, consider FAIL to be an acronym for First Attempts In Learning. Failing can lead to incredible growth especially when it occurs in the context of a supportive family or school community.
Educators and parents must encourage children to develop responsibility for their own behaviour and personal organisation from the early years. As a simple place to start, Kindergarten boys and girls can carry their own bag into and out of school, and unpack it themselves. As a child continues through primary school, they should increasingly be bearing the bulk of responsibility for packing their bag and knowing what is required for each day, such as sport equipment, a musical instrument or homework. These are the early steps in becoming an independent young man or woman.
Some children will need assistance in the way of reminders or charts to support their first attempts, but the end goal should be that they do it, rather than Mum, Dad or the teacher doing it for them! By working together, parents and teachers can help our boys and girls to develop the self-responsibility and personal organisation that will serve them well in later school years.
As a parent, it can be helpful to regularly ask the following questions:
- What does my child do to get himself ready for the next school day? Does he lay out his uniform, help to make lunch, pack his own bag?
- What tasks is he relied upon to do as part of the household? Does he collect the mail, put the bins out, sort the recycling, un-pack the dishwasher?
- What’s the next thing that I should get my child to try to do for himself?
As boys grow at Trinity Grammar School, we encourage them to accept and develop responsibility at school, at home and in the community. They are supported to try many things themselves and to ‘have a go’ as part of becoming responsible and independent young men.
To find out how your son could benefit from the Trinity difference, read our Kindergarten Ready document here. You’ll discover how Trinity supports boys in mind, body and spirit, providing the environment they need to flourish and realise their potential, passions and purpose in life.