Thursday, January 7, 2010

Who's Fault is it Anyways?

So lately I've been staggeringly overwhelmed by the lack of personal responsibility going on around me. I have heard a lot of rumblings about this topic over the last few years about how "the kids today" just don't have any concept of this ideal, but really, I think it's a lot more than just the kids and I think that we all need to step up and fix this problem where we can in our own lives.

One of my pet topics when I was taking my teaching degree was the concept of teaching kids the whole idea of personal responsibility. Because really, if you do something wrong, even if it's an accident, you're still the person responsible for it. (my other pet topic was critical thinking.. but that's a whole other post.) However, I cannot get over how many adults that I know in my life who don't seem to have a firm grasp of this concept at all. These are all grown people with children.. old enough to "know better" you'd think.

My kids, luckily, are pretty astute about the poor behaviour of people around them. There's their father, my ex, who rarely calls them and this year neglected to send them Xmas presents. And then there's their aunt, who tells them every time that she sees them that she's going to come and visit.. or calls to make a date when she can come for tea, and then doesn't show up. Both of these people are adults, in theory; both of them should realise that just picking up the phone and explaining yourself would make a world of difference to the people that it matters to. KIDS.

I realise that my ex grew up in a household where if you ever got into trouble, his parents were there to bail him out; but my sister didn't come from that kind of environment. My parents were always sticklers for "doing the right thing" and having manners. Hell, my mother still to this day reminds me to say thank you when someone gives me a gift (much to my annoyance, I assure you).

I know a woman in our local hobby group who voluntarily took on a job months ago to plan a post-Xmas event. For some reason (and probably a very good one) she didn't get it planned. Now, when contacted by the president of this group, she didn't tell him that something in her life was going on and she couldn't do the job. She stalled. And now, because she didn't come forth and tell anyone that her life was in some sort of turmoil... there's no event. So, now we have about 50 disappointed people (more than a few who would have helped out) all because one person couldn't suck it up and say, "I'm sorry, but I'm not going to be able to plan this." before it was way too late.

I don't claim to be perfect in this regard... I've probably been a no-show when I was supposed to be somewhere (though not that I can actually remember). But I try to make good on my word when I give it and make it up to people when I fail. I guess that my only solution for my own little world is to make sure that my own kids realise how rude it is when someone disregards other people like that and to make them think about how the problem could have been solved.


  1. It's a major pet peeve of mine too, thanks for writing about this. What amazes me to no end are the sheer numbers of adults who function at the effect of their circumstances. You know, that their life's complicating factors function as a blanket excuse for all manner of bad behavior, missed deadlines and broken words. Grrr.

  2. All I can say, Paul, is that it makes for one some really valuable teachable moments with my kids, "Here's an example of what kind of adult you *don't* want to be"