Communication-Skills Tutorial for Veterans

Definition of the Word Responsible


For communication to take place consistently both parties must agree to use the same definition of the word responsible—otherwise both end up talking. Talking always causes breakdowns in communication.


For example: If you were to ask all the teachers in any school (yes "any" and "all")* to write down the definition of the word responsible you'd get as many different answers as there are teachers. The point being—within any school system there is no agreement as to its definition; consequently, there's lots of blaming communications in our newspapers about SAT scores, teacher's pay, poor parent participation, missing, late, or sloppy homework, etc.


This lack of agreement, this inconsistency among teachers, makes it difficult for students to be clear about responsibility.


* I'm unaware of any school in the nation in which each member of the staff (including custodians and food service staff) can quote verbatim the purpose of their school; instead, each staff member has his/her own purpose for working/teaching; there is no alignment as with, say, a football team. Nationwide each teacher, in every K-12 class, communicates non-verbally his/her own unique understanding of responsibility; it wreaks havoc on future parents.

Here are some examples of different interpretations of the word responsible:

     — I'll accept 50% responsibility for starting the fight (implying, as long as you also accept 50%) typically used during acrimonious divorces.

      — I don't accept any responsibility for starting the fight. He hit me first.

     — All I said was, "f - - - you," and then he hit me. I didn't start the fight.

     — He hits me all the time. I'm not responsible for his anger (a blame statement). Stated responsibly it would read: "I'm addicted to abusing and being abused so I use my leadership-communication skills to goad him into hitting me."

     — She rear-ended me. I'm not responsible for the accident (responsibility has nothing to do with blame or fault).

     — My husband won't answer my questions (a blame statement). Stated responsibly it would read: "I don't know how to have him answer my questions."

     — I can't be responsible for teaching when parents send their children to school without the homework done. This reveals that the teacher has not co-created a Student-Parent-Teacher Homework Agreement. The existing implied non-verbal agreement is that a parent is not responsible for their child's homework). Education majors are not taught how to create effective supportable agreements.

     — All I said is, "If you . . . then I'll take the children and move to another state" and then he hit me (a blame statement). The implied communication being, my threat, my words, didn't hurt as much as his fist.

      — And a common blame statement, "She cheated on me." A responsible statement would be; "Using my verbal and non-verbal leadership-communication skills I drove her into the arms of another.* I don't inspire open, honest, and spontaneous communication—what's worse, my addiction to withholding thoughts causes her to mirror my integrity." (read Creating a Marriage Vow that Precludes Cheating, etc.)


* With coaching all "victims" of infidelity can recall how they began the deception in their relationship by withholding a thought (a potential deal-breaker) on their very first date; the withhold automatically (non-verbally) granted their future partner permission to deceive them, to withhold his/her thoughts of choice. A person addicted to withholding always attracts withholders (there are no exceptions to this entanglement phenomenon). To complete your addiction to withholding, to attracting withholders, do The (free) Clearing Process.


Last edited 10/27/17

Please read the definition of the word responsible that we'll be using throughout the tutorial; there's a brief 5-question true-false quiz to support clarification.


Click Continue to read, "A Definition of the Word Responsible."


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