“To the world, you may be one person, but to one person, you may be the world.” Dr. Seuss – Responsibility
Do you have the responsibility to be a role model for others?
Many students assume they are just a number and don’t really matter in the world. They don’t think of themselves as role models with responsibilities to other people. Yet, like it or not, their behavior is being watched and they are having an influence on those around them in important, unseen ways. Becoming more aware of their impact makes students more compelled to act in ethical ways.
Join Steve and Dan Fouts for an unforgettable conversation about responsibility using the Teach Different 3-Step Method.
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Image source: Picryl | Al Ravenna
Steve Fouts: 0:02
Hey everybody, Steve and Dan Fouts here. We are teaching different with Dr. Seuss with a quote about responsibility. Here’s the quote, “To the world, you may be one person, but to one person, you may be the world.” This quote is all about responsibility, and how a person deals with the fact that other people look up to them. It doesn’t matter how alone you may feel in the world, or that you think all your actions are confined to your life and don’t affect others. The truth is there are other people who are watching your every move. This idea of responsibility, what does that cause in a person to know that there are others who depend on them and look up to them? People will react differently to this quote.
Dan Fouts: 1:05 – Claim
Picking up on the idea that did students matter. There are students in our classes, we know who they are, that seem to act and think as if they don’t matter in the world. Dr. Seuss is telling them they do matter; they just need to recognize and realize that. This is a very important quote for a lot of reasons.
Steve Fouts: 1:39
They matter because other people depend on them. They don’t realize the power and influence they have. What claim do you see Dr. Seuss making with this quote?
Dan Fouts: 1:51
Related to what I said earlier, you are an important part of the world and that no matter who you are, you have an awesome responsibility and opportunity to help other people, you just have to recognize it. I think he’s really saying that everybody is a moral leader and they have to act with responsibility, because people are watching them.
Steve Fouts: 2:23
They have that responsibility, whether they like it or not. A student, depending on their age and development, might already be in that position with their siblings, or their peers. Others, as you mentioned, may not feel like other people really care much about them at all. This is an inspiring quote.
Dan Fouts: 2:50
Dr. Seuss is associated with younger children. His books are famous with the younger crowd, but I think this quote is just as relevant for middle or high school students. Students of all ages are dealing with the same issues that Dr. Seuss shares in this quote. Anyone can use this quote.
Steve Fouts: 3:20
This is a great quote that can apply to anyone. What do you think a counterclaim is?
Dan Fouts: 3:35 – Counterclaim
This was a hard one for me to come up with a counterclaim, because I agree with him. But, if I were to play devil’s advocate, I guess I would say that you’re only responsible for yourself and your own behavior. You’re not responsible for other people. Who walks around looking to be a role model for others. There’s enough pressure already in just being yourself and navigating the world. Now, Dr. Seuss is saying that there’s someone else in the world who might be looking at you for inspiration. That’s a lot of responsibility.
Steve Fouts: 4:18
I would also say, and maybe this is an adult type problem, but sometimes when you give too much energy making other people happy, people are looking up to you, and you’re trying to come through for them, that you forget to concentrate on your own development. You have your followers, but you don’t grow as quickly as a person. Sometimes it’s better to put yourself first, because then you can move on to bigger and better things.
Dan Fouts: 4:54
Your identity is shaped too much by other people’s expectations of you. Who are your role models? Are you a role model to anyone? Wouldn’t that be an interesting thing to get them to share?
Steve Fouts: 5:13
It would be wonderful to hear them talk about how they do have that responsibility, and how they feel about others looking up to them. It is a very unique feeling to know that people look up to you.
Dan Fouts: 5:30
That is great. To get even more personal with it, you could say if another person were to think of you as a role model, what character traits would they highlight? That would be embarrassing for a lot of students, while others would raise their hand and say, oh, yeah, I’m this, and this, and this. Others would have a hard time with that, but a good discussion.
Steve Fouts: 5:53 – Essential Question
That’s self awareness and social emotional learning. There are all kinds of stories and prompts you could use to get the students to share.
Let’s go to an essential question that can wrap this up and create some reflective space for the students to build on the conversation. Do we have a responsibility to be a role model for others? That’s a really insightful question that you’re going to love to hear the students answer. It could lead to a great discussion. We hope you enjoyed Dr. Seuss this week. Check out our Conversation Library where you’ll find more conversations like this and resources to support you in bringing these conversations into your classroom. Thanks a lot, everybody. We will see you soon.
Dan Fouts: 7:12
Alright, take care.