Build Character: Teaching Accountability to Youth

ioi-book-pageOver five years ago, while still working as a university academic adviser, I started off my career with QBQ, Inc. as the “youth face” of the organization. (Because, well, let’s face it—between my dad and me, who’s going to connect more with Generation Y?) Using my vacation days, I’d travel to share the message of “Personal Accountability and the QBQ!” with teens and college students across the country.

Here is an email I received from a student:


I used your advice from the story about Dorothy and Chick-Fil-A customer service and answered my parents with “My pleasure” when they asked me to do something this morning. They stopped in their tracks, since they expected me to complain and say something like “O-k-a-y …” in a not-so-nice-tone of voice. They asked, “Where’d you learn that?” I said, “From our QBQ speaker at school” and they said, “Well, keep it up!”

I love the QBQ and I’m excited about using it to bring more personal accountability into my life!

~Lane S.

This was just one of the lessons learned by a young person encountering this idea called The Question Behind the Question–the QBQ. Other lessons include ownership, service, integrity, trust, humility, leadership, and, of course, personal accountability.

These lessons are important for everyone at any age to learn–and review and reinforce–throughout our lives. But how much more exciting to learn them while young! This is why we created the curriculum called I Own It! Building Character Through Personal Accountability. The youth I’ve met eat it up!

And what parent or teacher wouldn’t want their young charges to take more ownership and be more accountable? None that I know of!

Instead of Incorrect Questions (IQs) like these:

Why do we have so much homework?

When will my teachers be more fair?

Why can’t I get a job?

Who’s going to help me get into college?

Woudn’t it be great to hear QBQs such as these?

How can I be a better student?

What can I do to excel?

How can I take ownership for all I do?

What can I do to serve others?

If you or someone you know is looking to build a foundation of personal accountability in the lives of young people, I Own It! is a great place to start! One teacher shared this:

I was at a loss on how to establish a sense of accountability with our students, as it has become a huge problem for us the last few years. I really look forward to using your program  and seeing some positive changes!

~Heather W.

We received this email below from another teacher:


I had just wrapped up the I Own It! curriculum with a group of freshmen. Soon after, a group of these students did not take the necessary steps in order to complete a presentation on time. They asked me to make an exception, a request that I denied. Below is the subject line of a message I received from one of the students minutes later:

 “I’m sorry Ms. Montag!! It was my fault for procrastinating!! QBQ!”

 And that’s how I know I Own It! is effective. The students are using it!


~Mary M.

With the new school year about to begin, if you sense that I Own It! would add value to your school and the lives of your students, simply pop me an email as I’d be happy to visit with you about your needs. Or, just visit our store or Amazon.

And, of course, don’t hesitate to forward this blog to your kids’ teachers, principal, and superintendent.

Thank you!

Kristin Lindeen
QBQ, Inc.

For Comment:

How will teaching middle and high schoolers how to practice PERSONAL ACCOUNTABILITY benefit them for a lifetime? What does the phrase “character building” mean to you?

Share below!

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4 Responses

  1. I would love some help in talking with my daughters and how to request things from them without all of the struggle and attitude!! Any suggestions?

    1. Kellie, how old are your daughters? Teens? I think the first step is to ask ourselves, “How can I communicate my expectations clearly?” Starting with ourselves is of course the best way to model personal accountability. And then, having conversations where we humbly coach our kids on the respectful, mature ways to respond. Do you have any specific examples?

  2. I have a 12 year old son and a 15 year old daughter. I was planning on having them read QBQ as part of their summer reading. Would you suggest they read I Own It before or in place of the original QBQ?


    1. Hi Kevin! I Own It! is perfect for what you’re trying to do with your kids! When you order IOI from our store, it comes with a copy of QBQ! The 10 lessons are based on the QBQ! content, so it’s exactly what you need! Here’s the link if you want to check it out:

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