In order for your students to have successful commitments, there are several facts about commitment that they must understand. Here are 4 topics to teach your students about commitments:

  1. Five facts about making a commitment
  2. The pros and cons of making a commitment
  3. The four cornerstones of commitment
  4. The downside of commitment

commitment ethic

Five Facts about making a commitment

  1. Every commitment is a choice. No real commitment was ever made without someone first choosing to make it. Keep in mind that, before you commit, you need to review your choices and their logical alternatives before making that commitment.
  2. Every commitment requires personal responsibility. Once you have made a commitment, it is your responsibility to follow through.
  3. Every commitment requires honesty and integrity. In order for commitments to work, you must be honest with yourself about your commitment and how you must live out that commitment.
  4. Every commitment is a promise. Most people tend to want to keep their promises. This is why they sometimes hesitate to commit. People are reluctant to make promises, especially promises they are not certain they can keep. A promise is a choice that describes something you intend to do in the future. By making a promise, you commit to the future.
  5. Every commitment requires a choice. Once you make a commitment, you give up some freedom. By choosing to commit to one thing, you may have to give up other things.

The pros and cons of making a commitment

In order to have successful commitments, your students must understand the pros and cons of making a commitment.  They may view commitment as frustrating and inconvenient at times. While it is true that commitment can cause us to limit our options, it is also true that we usually gain much more than we give up by being willing to make commitments. Give your students an example of a commitment and have your students practice making a list of pros and cons regarding the commitment.

The four cornerstones of commitment

It will also help your students to understand the four cornerstones of commitment.  Anthony Mendes in his work, “Inspiring Commitment” (1996), identified four basic cornerstones of commitment. Let’s take a closer look at these cornerstones:

  1. Vision. The ability to visualize success. Without a vision it is very difficult to make commitment work.
  2. Insight. The ability to know yourself and apply this self-knowledge to the commitment process.
  3. Acceptance of change. The ability to accept change and to focus on the things you can control.
  4. Integration. Combining your values, thoughts, words, and actions into the commitment process

The downside of commitment

When a commitment turns bad, it is important to understand the principles of escalation of commitment, to think out the process logically and come to a rational conclusion. However, commitments should never be abandoned lightly. A casually abandoned commitment was never really a commitment. When commitment takes you further from, rather than closer to, your intended goal, it is time to carefully reconsider. Ask your students to name a time they have abandoned a commitment. Have them share the reasoning for abandoning it and if they believe it was the right or wrong thing to do.

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