In the booklet, “Responsibility, Foundations of Democracy,” the Center for Civic Education lists six sources of responsibility: Promises, assignments, occupation, rules and laws, customs, and civic principles.
I don’t disagree with this list. But in my 25 years as a physical education teacher in the Detroit Public Schools, I discovered much simple ways of teaching responsibility, ways that are also available in neighborhood play.
For example, if a player falls or is hurt during a game, we stop playing and do not resume until it is clear that he or she is OK.
Another example is how we speak to each other. Do we holler and scream?
Or do we take time to encourage and explain?
How do we treat the referee? Recently a soccer player got so angry with the decision of a referee that he struck him, and the referee died.
It really goes back to how we treat each other — to whether we view ourselves as members of a beloved community.
The Beloved Community is not a specific destination or place. It is made up of everyday people like you, me or us.
This community starts with thoughts inside an individual that radiate outside to create a loving environment. Beloved Community members are committed solutionaries and healers who believe in collaboration, compassion, inclusion and other human qualities that build and nurture people and the earth.