There is a dying art in the world today. It is called taking responsibility for one’s own actions. It usually means that you were wrong doing something. But, come on, who wants to ever admit they were wrong?
I must admit, irresponsibility is a big peeve of mine. The reason why is because, simply put, I’m a responsible guy. I make my bed. I do the dishes. I pay my taxes and, you know what? I don’t want to, but unfortunately, that’s part of being a grown up. I’m tired of cleaning up everyone else’s sloppy life choices. I wouldn’t mind going out every night and getting hammered and sleeping all day. I would like to buy things I can’t afford then file bankruptcy and let the tax payers take on my responsibility to pay for it. Is it my job to pay for your healthcare because some drug like heroine was calling your name? I have kids, and believe me it’s not always a day at the beach. But as much as I hate to admit (at times), I’m responsible for them. Responsibility means playing by the rules and accepting the consequences for your actions.
In the olden days, your name meant a lot, and people would do everything they could not to tarnish it. If they borrowed money, often over a handshake, they would do what they needed to alleviate the debt. Rather than be labeled a deadbeat they would sell the cow, buggy wagon or the plowing horse. Crazy, isn’t it? Paying back a debt—an often overlooked trait but responsibility helped build this country. Back then, kids learned responsibility early in life. They had to do crazy things like chores, not so they could get money to buy something cool to play with, but because it was expected of the household. They gave whoopings back then. It was amazing how quickly a child learned responsibility. Today you can’t spank your kid, or you’ll be held responsible for trying to teach him how to be responsible.
It’s not just individuals who bear the burden of reckless behavior but also society. When you live in an irresponsible world, anything goes. I know it’s hard to believe but when you toss a lit cigarette out the window it can start a brush fire. Do us a favor and just swallow it. As for you litterbugs, I know you think the world looks prettier with your fast food wrappers decorating the landscape, but you’re no Renoir. Keep your art in the garbage can where it belongs, otherwise it gets swept into our water systems. I don’t like when a Burger King wrapper touches my leg when I’m swimming in the ocean, I think it’s a jellyfish. I know it’s cumbersome but walk those ten meters to a trash can. Who knows? You might even find something good to nibble on.
I’m not seeing much responsibility in this generation. Society has provided “outs” for our detrimental actions. If you drink too much, you’re considered to have an uncontrollable disease. If you cheat on your spouse, you couldn’t help it because you’re a sex addict. Every other radio commercial is a company offering to get sixty percent knocked off your credit card bill because you put yourself in debt. After all, why should you be responsible for paying for your big screen television? That’s outrageous! It’s not your fault that the store let you slap it on your Visa.
We feel sorry for actors or sports figures that fall to the temptations of stardom, whether it is drugs, booze, strippers or some incident with a hand gun. That poor supermodel that blows up and throws her cell phone at some poor assistant’s squirrely head because he forgot to fill the bowl in the hotel room with just green M&M’s. Yeah, it wasn’t her fault she was just having a bad Botox day. If anyone should act responsibly, it’s these celebrities. They have been blessed with talents that make them a lot of money. But every day we hear about some wacky behavior that brings them more publicity than their last movie. Then we feel sorry for them, offer our forgiveness, cheer their climb back to the top, then watch them take a tumble again. If only the world showed us the compassion and forgiveness we give our stars for their irresponsibility.
Why should we be responsible for our own actions? Personally, I don’t like responsibility. It holds me accountable for all the things I do. But when I screw up—and I do a lot—I take the experience and do my best to learn from it. Instead of excuses, I try and make amends. It’s part of growing up. (I know, who wants to do that?) Responsibility makes you a better person. You start thinking of others instead of yourself. It is a path towards one’s best. Winston Churchill once said the price of greatness is responsibility. And we should all strive to be great in our own way.
I have learned in life that the more responsible I am, the fewer headaches I have down the line. Another great leader, Abraham Lincoln, stated, “You cannot escape the responsibility of tomorrow by evading it today.” That cat was right. With quotes like that, he should’ve been president.
So the next time you feel like mumbling that old standard catch phrase of “It wasn’t my fault.” Think about it. The world needs better people and you start becoming better by accepting responsibility for what you do. We can’t always blame Bin Laden. If you think this article is a piece of junk, well, as much as I hate to admit to it, I’m responsible for it.