Is Anyone Responsible?

I read with amazement (but not surprise) recently the story of a young woman in Atlanta who had blown through the $90.000 inheritance that her Grandparents had left her for college. She had spent it on “stuff” like clothes and shoes and a European vacation. 

The story was about her calling into a radio talk show to complain about, among others things, that her parents should have taught her how to budget. She didn’t have money for her college tuition and she was blaming her parents. 

She also complained that they were “lying” when they said they couldn’t afford to replenish her college fund; she said they had a retirement account and they could have used that. She said the whole thing was her parents fault and not hers. Her “friends” all agreed with her.

She thought she had terrible parents but that fact that her parents were letting her suffer the consequences of her actions told me she had parents who cared about her.

She also had zero responsibility for her own actions and decisions. No matter what happened to her, it was not her responsibility. Just like a ton of other people these days.

How about the school administrator who makes a racist remark and then in all seriousness says it wasn’t her, “the devil was in the house” and he made her do it. 

When a kid beats up a teacher in school we blame the kid’s “home life” or the environment where they live. We say they can’t be held responsible. 

When bad or stupid things happen we blame something called “the media,” or social media, or the Internet or most recently, a flag. We ask how could “everyone” have missed the “signs” that this person had “issues?” Why didn’t anyone get them help? 

But we seldom assign responsibility to a person.

Is personal responsibility a thing of the past?

It appears so and that is a very bad thing. I’m sorry (well not really) if this offends anybody but we’re not helping the kid who comes in last place by giving them a trophy for trying. In the real world not everyone wins. In the real world the people who perform better get better results. In the real world people who know their actions have actual consequences make better choices.

The most successful people learn from their failures. Hiding failure from people by relieving them of their responsibility does not teach them a thing. Parents who solve all of their kids problems for them will have kids who always have problems that need solving. 

Years ago when Charles Manson killed a bunch of people and wrote “Helter Skelter” on a wall we didn’t blame The Beatles because they had a song of the same name. We blamed the PERSON who did the crime. He was called a criminal, not a troubled individual who was “victimized” by a bad upbringing. We said HE was responsible, not his environment, not his parents, not is friends and certainly not the radio stations that played the song. 

Today, The Beatles would be vilified and Charlie would be getting “help.”  

There is far less accountability and personal responsibility in the world today and it’s not making the world a better place. 

It’s also not making people better. 

 

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