Review homework answers.
What is responsibility? Is there a one-word definition?
After class input, discuss the root: response. (show root on board) When the phone rings, we answer it because we know caller expects response. Perhaps responsibility begins when pieces of the world dial my number and ask for me by name, some loudly, some silently, from all around. Comes from living in the world. Dues for being a member of the universe.
Rita Manning explains that because we are caught up in an interwoven network of relationships, we are under a general obligation to care. We form connections with the world around us like a chain-link fence or bricks in a building.
ACTIVITY: Set up chain of dominos and discuss the connections between one caring action and the chain of positive results. Example: keeping track of coat and passing it on to smaller child when you outgrow it Picking up litter at park will inspire others to not litter. Ripple effect of one seemingly small responsible action.
Responsible action hinges on our relationships. What relationships do we have in our lives? Emphasize commonness of these among each other and myself.
What responsibilities do both the passengers and the driver have while in a moving car? What do the salesperson and the customer owe each other? What does my mother deserve from me and what can I expect from her?
Are there times we fail to live up to responsibility? What needs should we, as caring people, have anticipated on our own?” Example: building codes for the accommodation of people who travel by wheelchair.
Truly following an ethic of care means reaching out and anticipating the needs of others without having to be told to do so.
POETRY: Mary Oliver’s “The Summer Day”. Our lives are woven into the earth and all that lives. If we don’t wake up to this responsibility, what would happen to the grasshopper that is featured in this poem? Then, focus on the last two lines. Write a poem that begins with the words “With my one precious life, I…”
Our society does not encourage the capacity for caring – it often feels like a burden.
What are some of our responsibilities? What happens of we don’t do them? When others take up the slack, this can cause caring burnout. Think about group work. Think about parents providing. What about teachers? Link lack of responsibility to its repercussions in the lives and relationships with others.
Read the myth of Sisyphus. Have students illustrate it as it’s being told.
Play: Sweet Honey in the Rock’s “Trying Times”. In journals, reflecting on music, is there anyone they know that has a very heavy rock to push? How can they respond helpfully?
Then, write about their own rocks: Any volunteers to share?
Play: “I Be Your Water” by Sweet Honey in the Rock
Watch the Story of Stuff:
Homework: What is the biggest environmental concern in the forseeable future?