Kids Learn about Character in School and at Home

( In my city, school teachers have been given a monthly theme to teach in the classroom. The Toronto District School Board calls it Character Development. So I went to the Yoga In My School specialist – Donna Freeman for some insight into the monthly themes. Thanks to Donna for this guest post.)

Teaching Responsibility Vital to Living Well in the World

A Guest Post by Donna Freeman from

One of the primary goals of teaching and parenting is to create responsible adults. By this we hope to create individuals who make moral decisions, meet their obligations, are motivated by their own initiative, and are accountable for their decisions and actions.

Yoga’s yamas and niyamas, often referred to as the commandments of yoga, are based upon developing responsibility for oneself, for others, and for the environment. This may be manifest through focussing on Ahimsa (non-violence) learning to live with peace, kindness and love, or Tapas (self-discipline) striving to better yourself through goal setting and hard work; Asteya (non-stealing) taking only that which is freely given, or Saucha (cleanliness) taking care of yourself and your environment. Each of these foundational 10 philosophies is based on living a life of responsibility.

I appreciate this quote by John D. Rockefeller, Jr for what it says about how responsibility is woven into our daily lives.

I believe that every right implies a responsibility;
every opportunity, an obligation;
every possession, a duty.

Small acts consciously repeated in regards to community, family, church, work, and self demonstrate responsibility. Caring for self and others, arriving on time, showing respect, following through, being honest, being accountable for actions, saying what you’ll do, and doing what you say are all hallmarks of responsible kids and teens.

Seeing responsibility in action often assists in knowing how to act in this manner. The example set by parents and teachers is vital. You may also enjoy the series of one minute videos produced by NBC for Liberty Mutual’s Responsibility Project which model living responsibly.
As we teach and demonstrate responsibility, we integrate actions and attitudes. We strive to:

  • Be actively engage
  • Be future oriented
  • Focus on self-improvement
  • Be aware of boundaries
  • Ask for help
  • See relationships as win/win
  • Be open to change
  • Live with integrity

I hope we will create opportunities to develop responsibility. As we do so we are empowering our children to live pro-active, purposeful lives. Take action. Do what is right. Live responsibly.

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  1. Thank you Donna for this wonderful post. By referring to the yama and niyamas you really bring us back to our roots.