Thursday, March 27, 2008

Accountability.......where did it go?

It is important to David and I as parents that our children are raised with the following 3 virtues.... here are the definitions to the words first, then I'll explain.
vir·tue [vur-choo] –noun
1.moral excellence; goodness; righteousness.
2.conformity of one's life and conduct to moral and ethical principles; uprightness; rectitude.

ac·count·a·bil·i·ty [uh-koun-tuh-bil-i-tee] –noun
1.the state of being accountable, liable, or answerable.

[in-teg-ri-tee] - noun
1.adherence to moral and ethical principles; soundness of moral character; honesty.

char·ac·ter [kar-ik-ter] Pronunciation Key - Show IPA Pronunciation –noun
1.the aggregate of features and traits that form the individual nature of some person or thing. such feature or trait; characteristic.
3.moral or ethical quality: a man of fine, honorable character.
4.qualities of honesty, courage, or the like; integrity: It takes character to face up to a bully.
5.reputation: a stain on one's character.
6.good repute. account of the qualities or peculiarities of a person or thing.

A Bit off topic, but it really does relate to how we want to raise our two new girls that will become a part of our family very soon. We use a reward and discipline system called The Champ Ladder that my husband and I created. See what Mary Owlhaven had to say about our Champ Ladder...she uses it and has 10 kids, half of which are adopted. When our kids are at the top of the ladder, they love it. They get their weekly allowance for being on top or they don't get it for being below step 6 on the ladder. When they are towards the bottom of the pretty much sucks. It's to encourage them to think ahead, think about their actions and how THEY are in control of what privileges they have. No blaming Mom and Dad for not being able to have a sleepover...they knew they were not high on the ladder and they had a chance to change it, but weren't motivated till the day they are invited to have a sleepover. Ohhh life is so tough for them. Please click on The Champ Ladder in blue to check it out. If any of you Moms need it, but are financially strapped, just email me and we'll get it to you. And let me know how it works for you. But if you are a parent and consider yourself not perfect and often challenged by your little ones AND big ones.....then you NEED this.

The state of my kids' integrity is vital to how they act in the world, treat others, how they act when nobody is actually's more important than what they do as a career. My husband and I hold this virtue high within our household.

I find in interesting how children can grow up and become adults and still hold onto their child-like ways. I sometimes find it shocking, less and less lately though, how being unaccountable for your actions has less stigma attached to it. As an adult, if you get caught in a lie, no big deal. Here are Senators, Governors and a President Clinton all in prominent positions, yet attach no stigma to what their recent actions have caused young people to believe. It's absolutely sickening and pathetic. All you have to do is watch the news to see the world at its best with its issue of accountability. No one is at fault. Let's point the finger at.....whatever......pick anything, but yourself. Nobody has done anything wrong, everyone is the victim. It’s very unsettling to me when I see this, but what it does do for me is make sure I am not a part of that stereotype. And most importantly I do not allow OUR children to become a part of this growing epidemic.

Dr. Anwar Ibrahim, former deputy prime minister and finance minister of Malaysia and currently a prominent advocate for democracy, freedom, responsible business and the rule of law – was named "Honorary President of Accountability" in Malaysia. He is the 'global voice of accountability' for government. He believes that the issue of accountability is at the root of all the world's major social and environmental challenges. Isn't that interesting? I should send him a complimentary "Champ Ladder" for him to use on his staff. I bet that if the parents of the grown up children now would have used our Champ Ladder, there would have been more accountability and less finger pointing.

I'm raving, aren't I? .....I think it's worth the read.... so refresh your coffee and read on!

In a "perfect world" we would like our children to admit what they did wrong and make it right. But the world we do live in is far from perfect and we have to deal with just how to discipline and reward our children. I once read where Mother Theresa was asked by a man who had traveled a long distance to see her: "Can I go with you, I want to change the world?" She turned to him and said: "Then go home and love your family". The best place for all of us to start is in our own homes, then our communities and then our cities and state. Who knows we may just change the world.

What drives me crazy in the process is the yelling from us as parents, the arguing from our children and the constant challenging us as parents. It makes me crazy in my own house. This is exactly how Champ Ladder has come to light. My husband and I were sick and tired of all of that. So much so that we thought, "There has got to be a better way". We looked everywhere for a solution and found that there was not much out there that fit our needs. A book on the subject was too lengthy, and we needed something NOW! So we created it ourselves and fine-tuned it over the years to get our system to a place that made simple sense and the entire family could understand and use. When people come to our home and look at the fridge, their first comment is not about the magnets and pictures, but on the laminated Champ Ladder we have boldly attached. They say, "Now that is a great idea!" My friend Darla Shine who wrote a fabulous book called "Happy Housewives" lives on Long Island and has a really fantastic website (click on the blue Happy Housewives or click on my favorite links to check it out). I had convinced her that if she came to L.A., I could get a lot of Moms together for her to do a book signing. I did and she came. So when she stopped by my house and saw the Champ Ladder on our fridge, she was the one who encouraged us to market this for other families. That it should be out there. So I wrote a Companion Guide to go with it, which I just love and could've wrote a whole book, but I needed to keep it brief. David fine tuned the Champ Ladder so that people could customize it to their families needs and children's names on it. Or one for a boy and one for a we took her advice and sell it now all over. I'm considering starting podcast on "Parenting.......and Stuff!" so that is kinda exciting to think about.

Our hope for our 4 children, God bless 'em, is to grow up to be happy, responsible, trusting, loving men and women who will treat people with compassion and with an understanding of where they are coming from. I find it very disheartening when I speak to a mature adult only to find that they talk about people in such a bad light...I guess because it makes them feel better about themselves. This quality is so unattractive that even sometimes, if I'm going to see that person again, I have the heart to say something about it. I know we all have our own story to tell. It makes us who we are. But how can we have compassion for others if we don't seek first to understand them?

Imagine putting on a pair of "Glasses of Compassion" each morning which make it possible that when you encounter people throughout the day, you see what is going on in their life. That's how God sees us actually, isn't it? For us, it would become too much to take. But what if when you put them on, you knew that the lady standing in front of you in line for your coffee at Starbucks who is not focused and just taking her sweet time to order and pay, what if she just found out last night that her son has autism? Would that change how patient you are standing behind her? What if the man sitting in the park is letting his kids reek havoc on the playground with other kids' Moms wondering why he is such a bad Father to let his kids act in such a way....but when you put these glasses on you can see that he just came home from work last night having been layed off and no hope in sight to keep his home? What if the new kid at school is being shunned because he didn't "grow up" with the rest of the class (you know how year round school works) and not only has no new friends, but is being taken advantage of, verbally abused and even punched by a classmate. Perhaps if the other children had these "Glasses of Compassion" on, they might have found out that he just left his whole life behind and his best friends when his parents decided to move to a new state? Everything he knew has been left behind and traded for bullying, foulmouthed little brats (okay, now I'm talking about my oldest son's experience here) who couldn't give a rip about how he is feeling with this transition, putting him in a position of regretting moving at all. If the other kids really knew, would they have more compassion for him?

There are reasons that people do the things they do and I am always interested in finding that out. As painful as it may get sometimes, I will even ask people to be totally honest with me so that I can grow. Why would I want to keep a bad habit? Why shouldn't I know about it? My close friends know that I ask that of them. And trust me, they use it. So does my husband....ouch!!!! Part of our children's creed is "I love God and all His creations, therefore I am compassionate and truly care about the feelings of others." How can we be hurtful if we "truly care about the feelings of others"! This is our hope.........for our 4 children.


Leah Reeves said...

So so true.....

Sherry said...

I remember seeing Mary's post about your Champ Ladder! It sounded and looks like a great solution and when we have the extra funds, I plan to get one. :)

Michele said...

Hi Lisa,
I commented on a previous blog. I am Michele from Atlanta. I don't know how to e-mail you. Mine is
I look forward to hearing from you.
Blessings to you and your family,