Every human is given a gift. That gift can either be hoarded, or in turn given away. Ironically the gift is best used when we take something ourselves. What is it?
When we choose to take responsibility for our actions, our mistakes, our children, our misfortunes, our decisions, our consequences, ultimately our life we give a rare gift. Indeed, it is becoming rarer in our day and age. Our personal responsibility frees our family members, coworkers, friends, colleagues, fellow human beings to live their lives without the suffocating burden of our lives. After all, each person is given only their own life to live for good reason. To try and live the lives of others is not fair to them - or us. We simply are not designed to carry the load of multiple people. However, it is evident that many do not recognize, or understand this rather simple fact. Even scarier than the lack of recognition is the blatant deception people chose to engage in to convince themselves they are not really the ones responsible for their own messes. I am surrounded by examples, and when looked at through the simplicity of a 3 year old the concept doesn't require a master's degree to grasp. Shall we?
Mary makes a mess of Polly Pocket. Mary decides she wants to play something else. It will take Mary several minutes to clean up her mess, which is not an immediately appealing reality. Mary recognizes she is not capable of stowing the container of Polly Pocket because the shelf is higher than she is tall. Mary illogically concludes that the restraints on her ability to accomplish the final aspect of the clean-up clears her of all responsibility to take care of the mess. Mary leaves the room to get herself a new toy, blaming Leah for the mess since she happened to play with Mary for 3 minutes during the time Mary had out all the Polly Pocket.
This example seems so obvious, does it not? Mary clearly has responsibility to clean up the Polly Pocket as best she can, and then take the initiative to ask for help in the small step of putting the container away. But what appears clearly in this scenario somehow gets lost in translation with only a minor adjustment of content.
Mary makes a mess of her finances. Mary decides she wants to purchase something else. It will take Mary several months to clean up her mess, which is not an immediately appealing reality. Mary recognizes she is not capable of immediately paying off the debt because the debt is greater than she is rich. Mary illogically concludes that the restraints on her ability to immediately pay off the debt clears her of all responsibility to take care of the mess. Mary files bankruptcy, and then complains of how high the credit card companies charge on interest.
Here we see Mary doing the exact same thing as when she played with her Polly Pocket! Mary should do whatever she can to rid herself of the debt she herself made. She could ask for help from debt consolidation, or credit counseling if the task was too great for her to handle independently, but her choices in spending are for her to pay - not someone else. This same concept works towards parents with children, and the responsibility often laid at the feet of the local public school to raise our children with social and moral values. I want to train my children that it is not nearly as much the other person's fault as our fallen nature would have us believe. Ultimately, the choices we make in spending time reading, playing on the computer, or watching television correlate directly with the loss of time to spend managing commitments, fulfilling obligations, and finishes projects. Trust me, no one forces me to play on facebook. Equally, it is no one's job to force me to responsibly manage my grocery shopping so my children have dinner.
I want to be ever vigilant in giving away the gift of personal responsibility - choosing to free others from the burden of my life's choices.