Friday, September 5, 2008

The Responsibility Project

Do you sometimes think our society has lost the concept of responsibility? I'm doubtful that a sense of responsibility comes natural to most people. Or is it that we're taught that it's not important? When I was a teacher, I wished I had a nickel for every time a kid said, "So-and-So made me do it..." If there's one thing I want to teach my kids, it's that they alone control their actions. Yes, circumstances happen, but we alone control how we react to them.

Liberty Mutual has launched an internet campaign called The Responsibility Project, which includes many short films that deal with aspects of responsibility. Here is the gist of the program in the words of the creators:

It all began when we ran a TV commercial about people doing things for strangers. The response was truly overwhelming. Thousands of emails and letters from people all over the country thanking us.

We thought, if one TV spot from Liberty Mutual can get people thinking and talking about responsibility, imagine what could happen if we went a step further? So we created a series of short films, and this website, as an exploration of what it means to do the right thing.

We believe that the more people think and talk about responsibility, and even debate what it means, the more it can affect how we live our daily lives. And perhaps, in this small way, together, we can make the world just a little better.

I watched several videos with my kids, and by myself, and they were all very good. Some use humor and some use drama to communicate their message. My kids really liked the animated ones, being under 7 year-old. One word to parents, though: watch the videos first, before you show them to your kids. While none of them are inappropriate, some do deal with more mature issues that are more suited to older children.

One particular video that touched my heart was called "Fathers Day." The subject was a woman and her estranged father. She learns he has just a few weeks to live, and has to decide whether to take her child to visit him. You see, we are currently estranged from my father-in-law over a dispute we had several years ago. He hasn't seen my children in over three years, and has never met my youngest. I have been thinking about how I'm going to explain this to my oldest, who remembers him, and comments to me every now and then that "Papa never comes to see us anymore." Frankly, I'm glad he lives far away, so I can tell her that's the reason... for now. Soon, she'll realize that he visits her cousins.

So it really made me think, "What is our responsibility now?" We would be willing to forgive the whole thing, and just get past it, but we can't. Anyway, I was in tears by the end of the film. But this is one that I'm glad I watched before showing the girls.

The Responsibility Project makes us think about issues that we'd sometimes rather push to the back of our minds... and sometimes we need a little nudge to really confront them so we can be healthier.

I do recommend that you visit the Responsibility Project. Take a look at the videos, watch some with your kids, and maybe find some inspiration to move past a difficult area in your life.

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1 comment:

Allison said...

What a touching post. While this is a great resource to use with kids, I think we can all benefit from the site as it touches upon subjects we all can relate to. Glad you enjoyed it. :)