Once upon a time…………

I would like to tell you a story.  It begins………..Once upon a time….

Once upon a time there were 2 words, these 2 words were welcome, even respected and heeded.   They were important words in our society because they were part of the way people conducted themselves.   They spoke to the character of a person.    People who didn’t have these 2 words weren’t well thought of or respected.   They tended to lean towards the lazy, maybe even criminal elements of society.

Once upon a time people understood the concept that everything they did had a consequence.   Some consequences were personal, others affected a multitude.   Some consequences were positive, a few were neutral and some were very negative.  People understood that if you hit your hand with a hammer it would not only hurt but might break a few bones, they understood that if you committed a crime you were most likely on the fast track to the penthouse suite at the local jail.  They also understood that if they were honest, loyal and kept their word they would be respected and more than that could live easily with themselves.

Sadly these 2 words have had a rather hard life and it does not look like they will end with ….Happily ever after.

I am speaking of Personal Responsibility.   That character trait that defines people who understand that not only do actions have consequences, but that the person doing the action should accept the responsibility for the outcome.

I am very disturbed by the trend I see in our society today.   Not only are is everyone behaving like victims in every respect, we are enabling them to do it.   No one accepts responsibility for anything these days.   If someone picks up a rock and throws it through a store window in retaliation for some perceived offense towards them or someone else, we rally around and defend the person and say it wasn’t his fault, he was forced to by this or that.

This is a scary place to be.   You can’t talk about it because that makes you a bigot, a hater and a whole host of other, many unprintable, words.   We need to work to restore some common sense back into our world.

I am not afraid to talk about it.

Here is what Personal Responsibility used to and should still mean:

  • It meant considering your actions before doing them
  • It meant owning up when you did something that had bad or unintended consequences
  • It meant looking at your situation and stepping up and doing everything you could to make it better
  • It meant saying your sorry and meaning it, not just saying it to save your job, your marriage, your friends etc
  • It meant making restitution when necessary
  • It meant understanding that some things can’t be fixed by saying you’re sorry

When did  we begin to believe that we could move beyond this and not have it affect our society negatively?   We have come so far away from this that not only don’t we understand, we actively fight against the notion that our actions or behavior should have any consequences at all.

Well I am here to tell you they do!

Our words and actions are under a microscope more these days than any other.   We are being scrutinized by our family, friends, employers and the rest of the world.    Our words are taken out of context and used to show what horrible people we are with no understanding of the truth.

There are some hard truths’ that we need to relearn and it’s time to start now.

We no longer understand or accept if we deliberately put ourselves in a dangerous situation bad things may happen.    We are not responsible for the choices other people make, however if we knowingly put ourselves in a place where those sorts of things are known to happen, the the chance that it may happen to us goes way up and THAT is our direct responsibility.

Now some may read this and accuse me of saying that the victim is to blame for what happened to them.   That couldn’t be further from the truth.   There is a distinction between putting yourself in a place where it could happen and actually causing it to happen.   If I knowingly walk through a neighborhood that is known for it’s high percentage of mugging’s, MY actions have now significantly increased the possibility that it will happen to me, maybe even high enough to turn it into a probability instead of a possibility.    I could still get mugged even if I don’t walk through that neighborhood, but I haven’t increased the chance that it will happen by putting myself in a place where it’s known to happen.

We can no longer be unwilling to believe that we can say anything, behave any way, dress any way and not have any responsibility for our choices.   We can’t continue to believe and teach our children to believe that you can walk into a lions den and come out unscathed.    We can no longer believe and teach our children to believe that we can say anything we want and not have any consequences.  Freedom of speech is a wonderful thing but the flip side are the unexpected consequences of what we say.    We can no longer believe and teach our children to believe that they way they cut their hair, decorate their bodies and dress themselves won’t garner attention and some of it negative (this is a topic for a short side post).

In a perfect world we could walk down the street and not have to listen to people say inappropriate things about us or to us.  We could go about our day without worrying about being robbed, carjacked or killed.   We don’t live in a perfect world though.

And one last thought, when you wake up tomorrow, what are you going to change and what are you going to start accepting responsibility for?






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