Political and corporate terms some times become so powerful guidelines in our personal lives that we are losing the forest for the trees. In recent years there has been a large shift in our society changing from a society based on personal responsibility to focusing more and more on social responsibility. However true social responsibility whether it’s individual or cooperate begins with personal responsibility.
Naturally feeling social responsibility is not a new concept and most of us were taught either to “do unto others as you would have them do unto you”(Christianity) or “Hurt not others in ways that you would find hurtful” (Buddhism) or “No one of you is a believer until he desires for his brother that which he desires for himself (Islamic). These Golden Rules are a fundamental part of the values that most civilization is build upon and teaches us about equality, solidarity and compassion or in other words charity. In fact you could argue that charity and social responsibility is like old wine on new bottles.
Introducing social responsibility to our youngsters
So what does it involve to teach our children to be Social responsible? Well to fully prepare our children to participate as active, contributing members of our society and world, they need to learn to be responsible for themselves, others and the environment. This deeper level of responsibility or social responsibility includes awareness and growing appreciation of our connectedness to and interdependence on each other and our environment.
By creating a caring and loving home environment we teach children the importance of their actions and decisions, and teach them the values of respect and concern for others, thereby building the foundation for social responsibility. Numerous lessons and opportunities abound in every day family life. When a child does something that hurts their brother or sister, parents can help them to reflect on how the other person feels as a result of what they did and how they might make amends or do things differently next time. Over time and with regular practice, children can grow in self-control and accountability for their actions.
Parents can extend the opportunities to care beyond the family to include others in their community including people in need. They can also teach how a small act can make a big difference. Taking your child to visit an older adult in the community who lives alone or in a nursing home or helping them pack up some of the clothing and toys they have outgrown to bring to children at the local homeless shelter can reinforce the lesson of caring for others and social responsibility.
Creating opportunities for young children to learn about the environment can be as simple as taking a walk in the woods, visiting a local farm or planting a garden. Any of these activities can stimulate your child’s natural curiosity while providing many teachable moments to talk about the delicate balance of nature and our responsibility to preserve it.
As children become school-age and adolescents, parents and teachers can further promote their development by deepening their understanding of and responses to issues affecting their communities and world. They can learn how to develop community service projects in response to a community need, an environmental issue or a larger social issue. Food drives, volunteering in a soup kitchen or food pantry, developing recycling programs, raising awareness of an environmental issue, collecting much needed items for disaster relief victims are all possible activities that can serve to deepen social responsibility and social action. Raising money for a cause or teaching children to use part of their allowance to donate directly to an organization are additional possibilities for parents to consider.
Finally parents can also teach their children about social responsibility by making volunteering and community service priority activities for the family. Parents are often unaware of their influence on their children especially as they become teens nevertheless our children learn more from what we do than what we say which is why we are the most important role models
The arising of Cooperate Social Responsibility (CSR)
In the times of globalisation, we have become increasingly conscious not only of what we buy, but also how the goods and services we buy have been produced. Being Socially Responsible means that people and organisations must behave ethically and with sensitivity toward social, cultural, economic and environmental issues. Environmentally harmful production, child labour, dangerous working environments and other inhumane conditions are examples of issues being brought into the open. All companies and organisations aiming at long-term profitability and credibility are starting to realise that they must act in accordance with norms of right and wrong. And who represent the values of the companies better than the employees and the products. Social Responsibility has become a brand and the companies or organisations focus on their image like never before. Massive campaigns are being rolled out informing customers, investors and the entire workforce of the importance and vital role CSR plays not only to the company but also to every individual representing the company. The snowball is rolling and suddenly this branding is moving from micro to macro level and political/public institutions and Governments join in as well.
How did we lose the focus?
Looking at modern societies of today there seem to be a constant need to blame someone for everything, and therein lies the problem. We seem to have lost contact with the true meaning of the Golden Rules and social responsibility is no longer of question of inner values but rather of external, materialised and shallow greed and need. Showing social responsibility has to some extend developed into a trading situation where by giving we feel entitled to get something in return. And gradually what should have been an act of good heart and faith becomes a score between society and us. Our code of moral is degrading because we feel that the society is letting us down and we seem to be out of touch with an essential dimension in life. The reflection in the mirror is you and by taking personal responsibility for your own actions you will cohere with the true values of Social responsibility.
The forgotten dimension
Personal responsibility is the exact opposite of pointing the finger of blame. Personal Responsibility is taking responsibility for your actions, accepting the consequences that come from those actions and understanding that what you do impacts those around you. As well as the ability to take care of oneself by means of, keeping healthy, managing ones emotions, keeping a sound mind and treating yourself with respect.You can’t truly care for others if you do not know how to care for yourself. Furthermore when you truly learn to be responsible for yourself you realise that it is in your best interest to be a good role model for others and the world around you.
Personal responsibility is the underlying dimension from which social cohesion, unselfishness and compassion evolves. When our children are not taught personal responsibility they experience life as what happened to them rather than what they accomplished. Without personal responsibility you can never truly appreciate the rewards of accomplishment and you only experience life as a victim. Entitlement and accomplishment are polar opposites. Entitlement results in fear and pain and accomplishment in happiness and productivity.
The two wolfs
A Native American grandfather was talking to his grandson about how he felt. He said 'I feel as if I have two wolves fighting in my heart. One wolf is the vengeful, angry, violent one. The other wolf is the loving, compassionate one.' The grandson asked him, 'Which wolf will win the fight in your heart?' The grandfather answered: 'The one I feed.'
It can seem like it is a daily choice to feed the loving, compassionate, happy and contented wolf while starving the vengeful, angry, discontented one. Why does it seem so easy to fall into the trap of following in the footsteps of the bad wolf? Because we often don’t fully accept responsibility for our lives. We want to blame things on someone else. It is very easy to play the victim and when we do this, we feed the discontent in our heart. Accepting that you’re completely responsible for yourself and realizing that no one is coming to the rescue is the beginning of peak performance.
Responsibility goes hand in hand with success, achievement, motivation, happiness and self-actualization. It’s the absolute minimum requirement for the accomplishment of everything you could ever really want in life.
The opposite of accepting responsibility is making excuses and blaming people and things for everything that goes wrong in your life. This is a bad habit that feeds itself. Once the mind start working in negative and destructive patterns its like a broken record that goes on and on. Thoughts become emotions, which results in actions that will have a positive or negative impact on others or ourselves.What’s the antidote to blaming? It’s simple! Since your mind can hold only one thought at a time, either positive or negative, you can override the tendency to blame and become angry simply by saying, firmly, “I am responsible!” The acceptance of responsibility negates negative emotions and short-circuits any tendencies toward unhappiness.Actually the very act of accepting responsibility calms your mind and clarifies your vision. It soothes your emotions and enables you to think more positively and constructively, making space for true Social Responsibility.