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Responsibility Includes Mistakes…That’s OK!

A girl ziplining

Do you find it hard to trust your child with a big responsibility? What if they don’t complete it? What if they make a mistake…even a big one? What if this practice is exactly what they need? Tyler points to how we can teach responsibility. Let’s dig in!


The Lord makes firm the steps of the one who delights in him; though he may stumble, he shall not fall, for the Lord upholds him with his hand. 

Psalm 37:23-24


I am guilty of some not-so-smart things in my life, been a little careless or reckless, but I like to think that I turned out ok. It really comes down to how supportive my family was. With both parents as my teachers and my coach growing up, you’d think I would’ve had a very structured and organized childhood.

However, my parents saw the need to give me some freedom and let me do something extremely important in my life…let me FAIL. Instead of controlling every action I made, they let me find out which of my actions were the wrong ones, and ingrained a few qualities in me to help decide.

  1. Stewardship breeds responsibility. I am a big proponent of stewardship and taking care of the things God has given us. Let’s start teaching them to be responsible with a tangible object and then let that translate into their actions. So maybe it’s a good time to get out and touch up the trim on your home or wash your car? Make it a family project and watch your kids begin to appreciate what they have. Then also be willing to let them wear a dirty uniform if they failed to put it in the dirty clothes hamper to be washed.
  2. Help is good. I am amazed at how hard it is ask for help sometimes. If you have ever come to camp for a retreat, you might have gone into our “blind maze”, a continuous loop maze with no exit. Each person is blindfolded and must find their way out. The answer is to ask for help, but whether it is perfectionism or competitiveness, people (myself included) will walk the same circle for up to 15 minutes! When did it become wrong to say, “I can’t do this alone”? Get rid of the stigma that help equals weakness. Instead, let’s encourage help equaling success. If we are going to encourage them to be more willing to ask for help, we cannot get in the way of their opportunity to do so by taking over before they get the chance.
  3. Establish a stable foundation. A big rule when I’m working on the ropes course is to always have a secondary backup system in place. Also, it is good practice to move only one arm or leg at a time when scaling an element. You don’t want to move until you know you are as steady as you can be when you risk reaching up for a new hold. Do our children know what some of the strong “footholds” are in their life?
  • A loving family willing to be there when they ask for help.
  • A supportive community that will back you up.
  • And most importantly, faith that God will always be there to comfort and guide you.

It is hard to trust people with freedom without knowing what they can handle, but we cannot know what they can handle unless they are given the chance. If we instill a strong basis of responsibility we can be more comfortable about letting go.

Camper Corner

Having a relationship with God doesn’t mean we will not mess up. According to the verse at the top, we will stumble, but God will not let us fall. This means God will let us make mistakes but will take care of us when we need it. What are some times you might have failed but you were able to learn something from it or realize a purpose in it?

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