Taking Personal Responsibility

October 28, 2021

Form 2 students at Kimuka School learning about taking personal responsibility.

Accepting responsibility and accountability for our actions, is the topic we covered with students at Kimuka School this week. Being in boarding school comes with its own unique challenges. Adolescence can be a difficult stage for any teenager; there is quite a lot the students struggle to cope with and try to comprehend. Teachers will tell you they go through a lot handling students who are in Forms 1 and 2. The ages between 13-16 is the self-discovery stage. The young girls at this season of their life are trying hard to discover who they are in the world; the majority have self-esteem issues and get easily frustrated. Blaming their peers, teachers, and parents becomes the most common scenarios. They do not generally want to take responsibility for their actions since blaming others comes easier.

During our talks regarding personal responsibility, we encouraged the girls to look inward and realize that change, of whatever kind, begins with them. Complaining about every little thing does not help, finding solutions within and owning up is the best way out of problem situations. It is simple to blame others for our mistakes, and it takes an introspective and disciplined student to take responsibility for their own actions. Life will always be full of challenges; how we respond to those challenges, however, determines how we will live our lives. If we let people tell us what we can and cannot do, we limit our abilities and give them too much power over us. One must take control of their own life and face challenges head on; we cannot give up just because we feel defeated. Taking control of one’s thoughts, words and actions will result in a far better life.

There is a lot of peer pressure at school; choosing to be different and walking a different path, when all others are in a self-destruction mode, is both a brave and intelligent choice. We have all been given choices in life, and our choices all have consequences.

We asked girls who fell pregnant because they engaged in risky behavior, why they felt the need to engage in premarital sex. The majority informed us their friends were participating in sexual activities, which enticed them to try it. That is peer pressure at its worst and having someone to blame seems the easiest way out, since rigorous self-honesty requires hard work.

When faced with a difficult situation, it is always best to pause and decide what to do about it. Don’t play the victim but choose to be a victor. In a group of many students, there will naturally be conflict from time to time. It is important not to take things personally. We tell the girls that not everything is about them, but rather, most often, about the issue at hand. We cautioned the girls not to always feel like people are out to get them; there are more important things in life. You may not have control over how other people respond to you, but you have control over your response to the situation. It is important to look for the good in people; there are many good people out there, most are just judged wrongly. When we take time to learn where someone is coming from, we can more easily, let go of judgment.

When we learn to take responsibility for our lives, we appreciate that things happen for us and not to us. Playing victim and habitually getting offended in a school set up can be very frustrating for a student. The teachers cope with huge numbers of students, and they do not have the time to give attention to all the students individually. Those students seeking attention get very frustrated because no one seems to notice them; as a result, they often fall into very destructive behavior like abusing drugs, causing chaos and conflict in school, disrupting learning for others by burning schools, all in the name of being misunderstood. Facing their problems and seeking help instead of destroying their lives and other students’ lives, and destroying school property, is, of course, by far the better options. Taking care of one’s personal items, keeping a timetable so as not to waste time in school, keeping away from bad company, and choosing to do the right thing are actions which define taking personal responsibility.

Most important, is the need to choose to stay positive. With all the challenges that life presents, opting to stay positive is a personal and very important decision. Doing things that make one happy, like offering others random acts of kindness, keeps one in a positive mood and a good, healthy frame of mind.

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