Living Above the Line: A Life Skill that Creates Personal Power

January 10, 2017 | Author: | Posted in Kids and Teens

As much as we sometimes would like it to, life never stands still. We grow up, kids grow up, and life keeps evolving. As the changes of life ensue, we are consistently faced with choices on how to face them. No matter how we choose to respond, our choices come from one of two places; either above or below the line.

No matter the time of day or night, the parallel line that divides our character and represents responsibility is constantly within our vision. Taken from the ideology of “Money & You,” a course for entrepreneurs and business people, “Living Above the Line” is a powerful life skill that helps us maintain responsibility for our choices and actions. As a foundation for communication and personal interaction, living Above the Line highlights and puts into practice the act of Ownership, by taking responsibility for our actions.

The line knows no age limits, and knows no prejudice. Every one of us can live in one of two ways; either Above the Line or Below the Line. When we choose to live Below the Line, our lives become circumstance-driven. We forget ownership and send the message to the world that we are not in control of our lives. People who use Below the Line characteristics including laying blame, justifying, denying, and quitting are ignoring their own responsibilities.

“Laying blame” could quite possibly be the most common and damaging way to live Below the Line. To a high school student being called out by their teacher for talking in class, this could look like, “She was talking to ME! It’s not my fault!” While the student may think he or she has a viable excuse, it doesn’t solve the issue or promote responsibility, and is a reliable way to cause bad feelings.

A second way to live Below the Line is to “Justify.” Justification happens when we create reasons why we didn’t perform as we had planned. “Why did I get pulled over?! Everyone else is speeding” This Below the Line tendency provides reasons for failure in believing that the reason will make everything acceptable.

Another way to live below the line is to “Deny.” “I didn’t do it.” (Think, Bart Simpson.) When we deny, the problem doesn’t go away. This obviously ineffective response can cause others a great deal of frustration (Think Marge Simpson), and make you seem unreliable or dishonest.

The most disheartening form of “Below the Line” living is to “Quit.” You quit when you believe so passionately that you will fail, so why bother even trying? This blatant act of self-sabotage denies our chances for success even before they begin. Quitting is the most profound way to diminish and deceive ourselves.

Fortunately, there is a whole other place to live from. By living Above the Line, we are using response-ability, a life skill which can be defined as “having the ability to respond.” With response-ability comes increasing choices and freedoms. At SuperCamp, an academic summer camp for kids and teens, students learn that living Above the Line means being accountable for their actions and having a willingness to make corrections when necessary. It means looking at the options and finding solutions to become more effective. This thinking leads students to greater freedoms as they use their experiences to move toward success rather than being controlled by circumstances. You determine your own actions.

By living ‘Above the Line,’ people take responsibility for their own life. This action creates greater control of our lives because we stop blaming outside influences on ourselves and situations. For students, it means learning to take ownership of their potential by owning up to their education and relationships. They can create a shift in their lives simply by taking ownership of their attitude.

Response-ability is the ability to respond to the events that happen in our lives. When you sit back and accept things that happen to you, you are allowing the circumstances of life to control you rather than taking control of what circumstances come in and out of your life. When you take action, you make life happen for you.

SuperCamp is an academic summer program that has been teaching learning and life skills to kids and teens for over 27 years. Does your son or daughter lay blame, justify, or quit things that are hard or undesirable? Give them the gift of 10 days at SuperCamp to strengthen their learning and life skills for a successful future!


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