Actions following words - Accountability
A few weeks ago, my middle school girls went on a bit of a binge attacking one another openly. They were meanspirited, dismissive, derisive, and downright ugly to one another repeatedly.. I went the normal route for the first few days, punishing, again, and again, and again..
I believe strongly that our actions should follow our words, and we as a family invest hundreds of hours in service to others. I couldn't understand how these lovely young ladies could so easily throw out what they learn at church, and in our home.. Their actions didn't even come close to their words, and it was infuriating to watch as a parent.
Clearly, the punishment model I had previously used was not working so I adopted a new approach.
I assigned them a mandatory multistage project forcing them to think individually, write, then combine their ideas, and finally to work together and create a "PPSA" Prillaman public service announcement.
- Step 1: they were required to write a one page paper explaining and supporting the position of "Actions must follow words" -- giving personal examples.
- Step 2: They were required to work together and combine their two individual papers into a single unified powerpoint presentation. This generated multiple levels of sparks and forced the very actions of collaboration and compassion they had previously written about.
- Step 3: They had to convert their presentation into a storyboard/script and then shoot an interactive video to be placed in public view for all to see. CLICK TO WATCH VIDEO
The deadline for completion was set at 2 weeks.. 5pm.. no excuses, no extensions.. Completion was their choice.. they could do the project or simply give up computer and TV access for one calendar month. They chose the project, and they got it done, on their own, despite tons of other obligations. They found a way, sucked it up, and got it done.
In the short term, the results have been amazing... They actually seem to care more about one another and they are calling out inconsistencies in their own and other words/deeds.. from books, to politicians, and beyond. They are thinking and acting on their own. They were forced into a position of accountability with both private support and public consequences. They had to think about what they think, and then put those thoughts into immediate practice.. subject to the scrutiny of others.
I'm a proud Dad.. Click through to watch the final product..
A Video where actions did indeed follow the words.