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“Green Week” is an annual initiative of the European Commission’s DG Environment. Its aim is to inform participants on bio diversity and sustainable growth and development. We all know that a balance in production and consumption is necessary in order to ensure a sustainable future for the generations to come. This is a high level discussion, which resonates in people with a sincere feeling of responsibility. But how does that develop?

Becoming accountable for one’s own actions develops from birth.

Just some small examples:

  • A crawling baby is stimulated to go and get the toy that was just thrown aside
  • A toddler puts the used plate in the bottom drawer of the dishwasher
  • A preschool child puts the dirty washing in a basket and brings it to the laundry

  • A primary child teaches multiples to a younger child

  • A Middle Years Programme student provides technical support of light and sound for the Primary music concerts.
  • A Diploma Programme student teaches violin to younger students.

Both education and home life can assist in the development of responsibility. When the adult feels insecure about children’s capabilities and does everything for them, children will not become productive.  Conversely, when adults have clear expectations of children’s capabilities and allows them to follow through and participate, then the child has the feeling of “I can do it myself” and “I am an important member in this group”.

Giving children relevant tasks and a level of control develops responsibility.

This, together with setting appropriate limits and allowing children to learn from their own mistakes engenders responsible behavior. Children do not need to be kept ‘happy’ at all times. When a child always receives what he/she asks for, without limitations, a feeling of entitlement develops. This is the opposite of happiness, since the person is never happy with what he already has. Happiness is not a point of departure, it is a point of arrival.  People become happy through positive achievements and responsible contributions.

Then, when they have reach the Diploma Programme, they become interested in the social and political level and want to contribute to the world at large: “We want to make a difference in this world!”