Responsibility – is it something we Pick and Choose or is it Naturally Ours?

Lately I have heard that responsibility is referred to as the ability to respond. I like that as it rings true in how we naturally respond to life, which can be very well observed with children.

Young children have a natural curiosity about and for life. They observe and put into practice what they have observed without questioning whether they like to do it or not. They also do not categorise into having something done well or as being wrong; they just do it again and again, bringing their all into the experience.

As adults we have unlearned this way of being and have been taught to calculate and reason. We have been taught that we have a choice to like something or not, to categorise into good and bad, important or not important and thus have also learned to prioritise.

Because we have made life more about reacting instead of responding, we do not see this ability in our children anymore and want them to act in the same way as we do and with that, interfere with their natural inclination of responsibility.

Children love to help and learn everything we do from when they are very little onwards. Instead of letting them help, we give them dolls or cars to play with and, for example, miniature kitchens to reenact what they have observed as we mostly do not have the patience and ‘time’ to work with them in whatever we are doing.

We also have the habit of saying, “They are young, let them be children,” meaning that they do not need to help and can go and play or do whatever they like. All the while we are denying them their natural understanding of responsibility they have and thus teaching them that there is no need to respond to what they feel is true, but can choose and pick according to their own liking. Very quickly we have little adults in our house that can perfectly do things they like to do but use the ’I-am-a-child’ card with things they do not like to do.

Responsibility is not a heavy burden. It is actually something innately ours as we are all connected with each other and connected with the universe and thus can feel what is needed for us all in any particular situation, just by this simple fact of connection. Because we have made life about our own desires and individuality, we have seemingly lost this way of responding to what is at hand and thus see responsibility as something we have to take on instead of feeling it as a natural way of being.

By Esther Andras, Flight Attendant, Delmenhorst, Germany

Related Reading:
The Freedom – Responsibility Connection
Responsibility Redefined – it’s in the Quality and not the Action!






408 thoughts on “Responsibility – is it something we Pick and Choose or is it Naturally Ours?

  1. I feel like I am understanding this on a whole new level recently, that babies and little children respond and have a natural level of responsibility till they are taught otherwise. I am sure this is something that will continue to unravel in the coming days as I choose to understand it further.

    1. Once a week I have three kids I ‘borrow’ and we all cook dinner together for an hour. Its been huge fun, and as the blog says, they are always looking for jobs to do, to be involved and they love that feeling of having been the chef for the meal when we all sit down together. The blog has got me thinking about that innate responsibility that we all enjoy – and there is an equalness that comes about in the relationship between adult and child when we embrace it.

      1. This is gorgeous Simon. Brings me to reflect on what a joy it is to work together as a team and for you to be clear of your responsibility as part of the whole. I am realising that the claim that kids are ‘just’ kids is not true. It is more a reflection of our lack of care in ensuring we have set it up so that they are allowed to be part of the process and contribute in their own right.

  2. To respond makes sense of a word like responsibility. So then when I break down reaction into re-acting it produces an interesting result. So we are doing something again (re), and that is acting… by definition a false way of being, pretending to be something that we are not. Hmm…

  3. Recently I have been uncovering a way of being that is very deeply ingrained in me, of relentlessly focusing on what is not right. It’s like I perpetually jump on what feels out of place – as if it is an outright disgrace. This way has a side effect or creating mountains where before there was only the smallest molehill. From what you say Esther it’s clear to me today that I’ve been stuck in ‘reactability’ when all along it’s been possible to respond.

  4. I work in a school with children aged 3-4 years and my experience with the children when they are given proper jobs to do confirms what is written here. They instantly light up and it can be felt how they enjoy the responsibility of the task. It is like they feel seen and met as an equal and their role of ‘being a child’ can be dropped. I see how they hold so much potential if adults allow this to flourish.

    1. I think we all want to be treated as equals and having a true purpose in what we’re doing is joyful and something very natural in us.

  5. Responsibility is naturally ours yet we are so conditioned and taught to live a life free of it as the ultimate Nirvana!

  6. Wow what an amazing point, reflecting back on the way I was brought up I can confirm that what you are saying is true. Although in some aspects I had to grow up really fast, in others I have been babied (and still to this day am) very much. It’s important to talk to parents about these things because denying children this opportunity to grow up is actually very harmful for them, and for us all.

  7. Kids are naturally responsible and as young children life is not even categorised as anything other than how things simply are. We are the ones who break life into pieces and categorise it. Then we say what parts can and can’t be done. Kids are naturally responsible as life is one. But we take that away and then decide what we give back to them. It’s crazy as we then have to allow them or give them responsibility but we were the ones who took it away in the first place.

    1. Very true, Nikki, and by doing so we then experience responsibility as a burden, which is so unnecessary if we maintain the approach of the child.

  8. It’s so clear from what you have written Esther, that as parents or when we are parenting children – ours or not – we have a responsibility to honour the innate responsibility within every one of us. By supporting children to stay connected to theirs we will support ourselves to reconnect to ours.

  9. If adults had more fun and were playful with themselves, in a natural joy with their responsibilities then children wouldn’t grow up rebelling against ‘the system’; as many teens can do.

  10. It is very interesting that the behaviour most parents and adults complain about in teenagers who don’t want to contribute to anything in the household is actually self-created by the way parenting is today. If we would understand that we are all equal no matter the age (so even the youngest children who want to support) and that there is nothing like being less as a child other than just being much smaller and less strong and skilled physically, this might be able to change.

  11. Esther this is revelatory to me, I had not looked at responsibility this way in kids before. When we nurture kids connection with themselves responsibility is a natural prosess.

  12. If children love to innocently play and have joy-full fun and as this is not commonly seen in adults who are behaving the complete opposite, then there is indeed something to be inspired by in how our children view responsibility.

  13. This makes so much sense. Responsibility is so innate it’s just like doing experiments in life every day. But as children we are not allowed to experiment or explore because our parents have also given up that ability. It takes a very stubborn child to keep this connection even though it is discouraged.

  14. Esther, I love what you are saying here about responsibility. It is natural and fun and nothing like what we have been lead to believe it is.

  15. Love this Esther, it’s as if the burden of responsibility or the pictures of what responsibility is, is passed on through the generations, when in fact it is the total opposite to what we have come to believe it is.

  16. “Very quickly we have little adults in our house that can perfectly do things they like to do but use the ’I-am-a-child’ card with things they do not like to do.” This rings so true Esther, i know with my own children i often find myself excusing them for not helping with cooking supper or washing up and then i am reminded that yes they have had a long day at school but equally as have I at work, & its beautiful when i choose not to react but claim their support and we all work together – and in turn this brings greater connection and completion at the end of our days.

  17. Whatever the case may be, children need to feel those around them being energetically responsible So that the words are matched by the actions that are matched by the energetic quality.

  18. It is very disempowering to treat Children as less knowing. This way they close down their innate wisdom they hold within.

  19. Today it was pretty cool to watch two children be actively involved with making their own breakfast and clearing it away. I stood back and assisted only if necessary (open flames etc!) and it was awesome to witness. Taking responsibility into our own hands lightens the load we all have in making a group/family/ society flow.

  20. How unfair is it when we talk about teenagers acting irresponsibly when we actually start off by not allowing them to be part of and experience the reality of the world from the word go in the name of ‘protecting’ them.

  21. When we respond to the responsibilities of life as they present they complete and we get to move on with our next responsibility. When we don’t respond the burdens can begin to accumulate….

  22. I like the way you describe responsibility . This way it’s not a burden it’s just responding with all that we truly are, the responsibility is in being all that we are in truth .

  23. I think it’s truly enriching for children to be supported to grow in their responsibility; it gives them a great foundation for life.

  24. Our ability and willingness to respond to what we know, to the truth that is presented. And how complicated have we made life instead – so very deliberately, to avoid this simple truth of what responsibility actually is.

  25. Yes it is not about allowing children to just express however they like but supporting them to express responsibly so that they understand that living responsibly is not just for themselves but for the support of everyone.

  26. There is this image associated to learning whereby you add things to your backpack that just gets bigger and bigger as you go along. Hence, our ability to respond to life only increases. And, yet, responsibility is usually not our first choice. Something does not add up here. What this image does not allow us to see is the fact that we also learn to override part of our ‘factory defaults’.This does not mean that we drop our innateness, only that we distance ourselves from it to the point to dismiss it if stands in the way.And then we go and go until we discover that our innateness can never be a problem for us but our greatest resource.

  27. I notice avoiding responsibility causes more harm and tension in my body than anything I can think of. This also affect others around me too and I know taking responsibility is actually a very loving and natural thing for us all.

  28. There is much we can learn from children with their natural curiosity and response-ability, before they are mis-shaped into adult attitudes of good, bad, right or wrong.
    “As adults we have unlearned this way of being and have been taught to calculate and reason. We have been taught that we have a choice to like something or not, to categorise into good and bad, important or not important and thus have also learned to prioritise”.

  29. Yes I love how young children do things with no attachment to an outcome, they are simply in the lightness and magic of the moment. Yet as we become older we tend to lose this and life gets serious and outcome-based…which makes for a dull life even if we get ‘stuff’ done!

  30. Children show to us our innate ability to respond and be responsible. There must be something outside that ends impeding them to act from that impulse, but this impulse remains always inside despite everything.

  31. Being responsible is responding to life rather then reacting to it, responding to life we are always on the front foot no matter what comes at us, react to life and we are lost in a sea of emotion that can cloud our true vision.

  32. We have a lot to learn from children and a lot to share with them also about how to live a truly successful life in this world. Children really only need confirmation for who they are, the rest is about sharing what we have learned and how things work practically in this world.

  33. The understanding that responsibility can come naturally really does mean paradigms shift of enormous depth and breadth in both our education system and the way we raise our children

    1. I agree responsibility should be one of the fundamental principles of our home and school life so that we grow up knowing what it is to take full responsibility for our own actions. Humanity as a whole are a long way off this, and it is us, who have to change first, then it will naturally happen in our parenting and education system.

  34. “Lately I have heard that responsibility is referred to as the ability to respond.” I like that too Esther it feels totally different to when pick and choose what we like and don’t like as we go through life. I can feel how when we respond it is no longer about ourselves but about what is needed.

  35. ‘Responsibility – is it something we Pick and Choose or is it Naturally Ours?’ What a great question Esther. It shines light upon the fact that it is not about picking and choosing but letting what is naturally ours and so simple already there, to be expressed. In other words it is a surrender not a ‘doing’.

  36. It would certainly make a difference if we accepted responsibility as something that supported us in our every day. That we’ve turned it into a dirty word does nothing for us and simply gives us an opportunity to blame, whinge and moan about our lives.

  37. So often in life we unnecessarily complicate things. We start off with a natural expression, yet insist that there is something wrong with it. We end up in a lot of struggle and trying to fulfil this expectation of being a different way to what we started with. Then after years of finding this does not work, we start to explore how to return to our natural expression, but by now we imagine we are going somewhere new. And when we do return we congratulate ourselves!

  38. So true we can often dismiss the wisdom of a child by thinking ‘they don’t know yet’ instead of supporting them to honour what they feel and listening to them in full.

  39. I have noticed that whenever I and other people are feeling the joy of expressing all that they are in the absoluteness that love, truth, joy and harmony is, the outcome is responsible choices and action – not because they planned it as a mission, but as a natural expansion of those qualities.

  40. Nurturing children’s innate sense of responsibility is truly supportive, how we are in life always has consequences for others and ourselves and to appreciate this from a young age is actually enriching and really helpful.

  41. Responsibility is the ability to respond but what I am learning is to respond to what is needed in the moment. For most of my life I have held back responding to others for many reasons such as another’s reaction, what others would think etc, but I am beginning to really get a sense of the self in this way of being and as I do so I am beginning to speak up. Regardless of the outcome it feels so empowering to feel the connection to my body, remain steady and express from my body and to do so in the absoluteness which means it is delivered immediately without any mental thought whatsoever.

  42. “Because we have made life about our own desires and individuality, we have seemingly lost this way of responding to what is at hand and thus see responsibility as something we have to take on instead of feeling it as a natural way of being..” Beautifully expressed Esther. We are all one humanity.

  43. Responsibility is a natural inherent relationship we have with life. And children are not weak, pathetic beings with no understanding of such a relationship. In fact while they have not yet abandoned their clairsentience and open expression to fit in with the rules and expectations of an adult imposed world, they could teach us adults a thing or two about many things including responsibility.

  44. I’ve observed how much kids love responsibility. It’s natural for them and when we take it away we have to deal with the consequences of having done that when we try to give it back. It was never ours to take away, it was there for us to support.

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