Had a long talk with my son the other night on personal responsibility. Without getting into the gory details, he was blaming many of his misdeeds on his mother (my ex) and the reasons for dropping the responsibility in her lap. It got me thinking again on where has personal responsibility really gone (besides to hell in a handbasket on the express train.)

Oh, there are so many places that I can point to as the culprit for this malaise!! So let us at least try to touch upon some of them.

Social engineering by the pointy heads is a good place to start. According to them, it’s never the person that commits the crime or makes a mistake, it’s always someone else that causes the person in question to screw up. Bad parents or no parents, growing up in a slum, drugs, peer pressure, etc… are the reasons that defense lawyers use to try to get their clients off (and sometimes they do!). And the shrinks support it and testify in court to that effect.

School is another place. No real consequences for misbehaving are meted out because corporal punishment is no longer used. “Time-outs”, detentions, and suspensions are the rule now along with pacifying unruly students. And if the kid doesn’t care, then the time off of school is welcome to them. I still remember the one single whack that the dean gave me for fighting, and I certainly didn’t do it again (at least on school property!).

Uncaring parents, or absent parents. Yes, many of our families have both parents working, or the single parents have two jobs to make ends meet. To put it simply, there just isn’t enough time or energy to spend with the child to raise them properly. And our society is now just beginning to realize that having a parent home with the children is better than daycare. For those parents who are able to juggle jobs and are able to raise good, decent children, I salute you!

Last on the list is that we do not have good examples of consequences of bad decisions. Slaps on the wrist for corporate misdeeds that leave people out of jobs and the decision makers with multimillion dollar bonuses. Killers that get off on technicalities. The ability to state that it wasn’t my fault, it was the way I was raised / where I grew up / I didn’t know any better / etc…

The real problem is that we, as a society, are hooked on the quick fix, and tend to blame someone else when things turn to shit. In our society, to take responsibility for actions is almost a character flaw if the actions turn out to be wrong. It’s a career killer, and we look for someone or something else to blame for our screw-ups.

The bottom line is that we are responsible for our own actions, and we must weigh decisions with care, and accept the responsibility for those actions, right or wrong. I do, how about you?

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