I’ve been doing some more thinking about personal responsibility (or the lack thereof) since my post of two days ago.
A number of you weighed in with either comments or emails. (I ought to publish some of those emails, but then you wouldn’t send me any more because if you’d wanted them published you’d have written a comment on the blog. So I guess I won’t. Although… I COULD do it anonymously… Maybe…)
Some of those comments were insightful. Others, like Karyn’s, were just fluff and sexual innuendo, but that’s Karyn. (That’s my way of getting back at her for delaying her weekly Freaky Friday post today. Imagine… I had to WAIT for my gratification! Hmmph!)
Remember the book back in the 50s by Thomas Harris, “I’m OK—You’re OK?” There were a whole series of books on “Transactional Analysis” that talked about negative life positions, negative self-feelings, and the like. An emphasis developed on Positive Self Esteem. Educators were trained to avoid attacking a child’s self-esteem, lest that child develop a negative life position.
Bro-THER! The result of all that psychobabble was the pervasive notion that NOTHING is truly “my fault.” If it were, I must be “bad” (or incompetent, or a loser, or…). Gee, whatever happened to, “I’m human. I made a mistake?”
The jails and prisons are full of people who honestly believe they’re locked up because society failed them. It was all because of their childhood environment. If you point out that they made some bad choices, they’ll blame other influences for that as well.
When (or if) they get out, many go make some of the same bad choices all over again. They remain convinced that either they are somehow predestined to make those choices—always because of some influence outside of their control—or, that their choices aren’t really bad; the problem lies with “the system” that’s out to get them no matter what they do. Sound familiar?
The comments I received about lawyers brought to my mind several of the lawsuits I’ve had to defend (as a company representative) against accusations of unlawful discharge. It didn’t matter WHAT act or omission led to the final decision to terminate employment. It didn’t matter how many times the employee had been warned and otherwise disciplined. According to them and their attorneys, it was not their fault.
I was taught as a little boy that if I did something bad, I would be punished. The punishment was not to show me I was a bad boy, but to teach me not to be bad again. The fact that I did something bad didn’t make ME a bad person. And Mom and Dad still loved me.
You’ll hear in some church circles, “God loves the sinner but hates the sin.” Same idea.
The trouble is, if I’m not ultimately responsible for my actions, deeds, omissions, and so on, then the logical extension of that is there’s no reason for me to act like a “responsible adult.” I might as well be irresponsible. Hey, “If it feels good, do it!”
And thus many people act irresponsibly, and without any guilt about it. The rate of criminal recidivism is high. But we’re all OK!
There. I’ve vented. Thanks for visiting. I’ll try to be in a lighter mood tomorrow.