I have been debating with myself on the best way to go about writing about this topic. I think for the most part I have just decided to go with it, and see what happens.
The topic for today’s Southern Common Sense tip is: RESPONSIBILITY.
This can sometimes be a wonderful word or a scary one, but the direction I am wanting to take it is more focused on behavior. Okay so where to begin… I think with a short story that sparked this post.
This morning, my husband went outside to begin working on nailing up the new pickets for our fence. After he got all of his tools set out and ready to go, he walked up to his trailer while on the phone with me. I heard a muffled curse word or two, and asked what was wrong. He then informed me that someone kicked out one of his trailer tail lights. Being the person I am, I asked him if he was sure, couldn’t someone accidentally backed into it? He told me No because only the light and its fixture were broken. If someone backed into it, their vehicle would have hit the metal before the light, but there was no damage to the metal or bits of paint left behind. So someone kicked out a tail light, for what though… for the fun of it? Or maybe they needed to take their anger out and our trailer was the closest thing… Who Knows?
You may be asking Why does that matter? It is just a light that can be easily replaced. And to an extent I would have to say you are right, however I find the principle behind someones decision to destroy someone’s property to be absolute and fundamentally wrong. My husband and I are not wealthy people, we live paycheck to paycheck, and we keep ourselves on a budget. Having to replace the tail light is something that will have to be budgeted into our spending. We work hard for everything we have, and we are constantly working to improve our home.
“It is wrong and immoral to seek to escape the consequences of one’s acts.”
― Mahatma Gandhi
So where am I going with this? I feel like we as a society are allowing Responsibility to become less of an ingrained character value and more of a hidden accomplishment.
When I was a kid, if my brother and I were outside and playing and we broke something that was not ours, even if it was on accident, my parents made sure to march us up to our neighbors house, and have use explain what we did and take RESPONSIBILITY for our actions regardless of what excuses we had. Today, I do not see that as much; parents holding their children RESPONSIBLE for their actions. I am not saying that this is every parent or person out in the world, but I will argue that it is becoming a common occurrence.
“Manliness consists not in bluff, bravado or loneliness. It consists in daring to do the right thing and facing consequences whether it is in matters social, political or other. It consists in deeds not words.”
― Mahatma Gandhi
I think that true value of growing into adulthood is taking responsibility for your actions and setting an example of strong character for our children. When we mess up, we as parents have to own up to it. Not make excuses for why we did this or that, but stop the bull shitting and claim responsibility. I know I can do better at this, and I hope this inspires you to do the same. I try to keep in mind that my children will model my behavior, even when I think they are not watching. Can you imagine how the world would be today if every person realized that with every action there is a reaction, and in this case, for every action committed there is responsibility for that action that must be delegated.
“Man is condemned to be free; because once thrown into the world, he is responsible for everything he does.
It is up to you to give [life] a meaning.”
― Jean-Paul Sartre
I think teaching our kids early how to take responsibility for their actions will help them in every step of their life. It will help them learn to quite making false excuses to try to persuade/manipulate the person confronting them that there was a reason behind what they did. It follows the golden rule: Do onto others as you would want them to do onto you. And how very true that is, even today.
What you do not want others to do to you, do not do to others.