One of the greatest Jazz pianists of all time, Horace Silver, once sat down and decided to write a different kind of Jazz song. In the liner notes, he writes, “Although [this] is dedicated to pre-teenage children, it might not be a bad idea for us grownups to review some of the principles of good living that are expressed here which are always worthy of our consideration.”
He called the song “Accepting Responsibility” and though the music itself is pretty groovy, the lyrics are maybe some of the cheesiest ever written. One verse goes:
“You gather your toys and put them away/The weeks allowance must be earned and what’s more, these things are your chores/We must all accept responsibility, can’t you see, as we grow, responsibility grows too.”
Yes, it’s aimed at younger kids. Yes, it sounds like someone taught Chuck E. Cheese how to Samba dance. Yes, it was written in the 80s – a decade known for some pretty ridiculous music. But give the whole thing a listen and you get to a verse near the end which is pretty heavy for a “children’s song”.
“The world’s in a mess. There’s people in need/Don’t wait for someone else to speak and to do/They’re countin’ on you.”
You can have a listen to the whole thing here.
The point is, Horace Silver wasn’t a teacher. He didn’t work with kids in any capacity. Yet he understood that he had a certain responsibility as a public figure to teach children proper values. He felt a moral responsibility and acted on it.
In the world of Quantum Learning, we refer to this emotion as Ownership. When we speak about Ownership, we mean being accountable and responsible for what we feel, say and do. Being someone who can be counted on and someone who responds in an appropriate and intelligent way.
In another sense, it’s one thing to be responsible; it’s another to be response-able, i.e., being able to think and choose one’s response to a situation. Let’s say a teen gets his driver’s license and immediately gets into an accident. The non-Ownership response – the response that is pure instinct (and not thought out) – is to bail on the situation right away. The response-able choice means calming emotions and thinking clearly about the most positive and productive action to take.
Ownership can be responsibility for our world (environment, politics, social activism), our health (eating right, exercising), or our words (how we treat others, our response to how they treat us). In it’s essence, Ownership is about choice. Choice about the way we live, speak, think, and act.
In any situation, what response will you choose?