Friday, July 08, 2005

I’m OK, you’re OK. And it’s nobody’s fault!

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.

3 comments:

VikiBabbles said...

http://today.reuters.com/news/newsarticle.aspx?type=oddlyEnoughNews&storyid=2005-07-08T152237Z_01_N07121599_RTRIDST_0_ODD-LIFE-EPIDURAL-DC.XML


Woman sues hospital because her husband, who had been asked to help steady her as doctors inserted an epidural needle in her back before delivering her child, fainted, struck his head, and later died of a hemorrage in his brain.

How many lawyers do you think called her in her hospital room as she recovered from delivery?

Personal responsibility is dead. I strive every day to teach my children the value of owning up to their mistakes. Very few other parents in my neighborhood do the same.

In the last month of the school year, the mother of one of my son's friends called me up and said, "Did you know that Matt and Anthony got called to the principal's office today?" I had had no idea.

Apparently, two afternoons before, while I was sitting in my car outside of the school, catching up on some journal writing while my son and his friend played on the school playground, some kind of boy shit went down with another boy. A boy, mind you, who weighs twice as much as my son and his friend put together who physically should be playing college ball but mentally should be in preschool. This boy, after his mother came to pick him up 1 and 1/2 hours after school ended, complained that Matt and Anthony had been mean to him. Big Boy's mom called the principal, said she "didn't want to make a big deal out of it, just wanted the principal to know." We only found out because this other mom happened to see the 2nd grade teacher pull her son aside when she dropped him off for school.

The long and short of it is a mom tells her 8 year old kid to play at the playground until she gets around to picking him up. I, on the other hand, am at the playground, occasionally glancing up to make sure they aren't hanging by their necks from playground equipment, and my kid gets dragged to the principal's office to discuss this "something" that happened. Principal never called me.

I called HER, believe you me.

Why do you think this woman didn't want to "make a big deal out of it?" Because she didn't want to get busted leaving her kid at the school playground for over an hour after school while she finished up her pedicure or whatever.

She also didn't want me stalking towards her and ripping her a new one, that's for goddamned sure.

There ARE still a handful of parents teaching the acceptance of personal responsibility to their children. I am one of them.

Our children will grow up to be the leaders who pull this country out of the hell-hole we're in, and destined to stay in for years to come.

Have you ever heard GW own up to a mistake?

You've hit the nail on the head, here John. THIS is what is pulling this country down, more than anything else.

You know what else? Just a warning, mind you. When you sit outside with a laptop in the dark (i.e. "camping"), the screen attracts a lot of bugs. I just got attacked by something my husband called a "junebug," that looked nothing like the junebugs I used to swat away when I lived in Kansas.

This thing was an inch and a half long, an inch wide, and was vicious.

Don't you love my sudden burst out of commentlessness?

Go away, damn bugs!

Karyn Lyndon said...

How dare you write a post that is completely innuendoless!

Michelle said...

It is good to vent and you're ok.