It’s Not My Fault…

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When my daughter was in elementary school she learned a painful lesson.  She had a friend who forgot their permission slip to go on a class trip to an amusement park. This was the last day that the teacher would accept them.  To help her friend, my daughter signed her mom’s name to the permission slip and the teacher saw her do it.  Obviously the teacher was upset by this and punished my daughter by not allowing her to attend the class trip.

When she got home and told us the story, we were very upset with our daughter, but she was absolutely crushed.  This was her end of the year class trip and now she was not allowed to go.  We realized that we could ask the teacher to let her go and tell her that we would punish her for her actions.  Or we could have blamed the school, the teacher, the rules or anything else other than our daughter.  We could have told them that she was under a lot of stress.  That she was only trying to help.  That the school should have allowed more time.  We could have come up with a million excuses for her action.  But we didn’t do that.

We held her responsible for her actions and she was not allowed to go on the class trip.

Oh, how times have changed.  We live in a new age where no one is responsible for anything.  It’s not my fault.  I have problems.  I am disadvantaged.  I’m not responsible.  I forget things.  I’m distracted.  It’s not important to me.  I don’t care.  You should take care of it for me.  Your taking advantage of me.  Your being mean to me. I need more time.  I’ll do it later.  I’m not smart enough.  I can’t remember very well. I just can’t do it…  

We have created more reasons for not doing the right thing than to actually do the right thing. We coddle both young and old into thinking that there is always a way out.   You can talk and excuse your way out of everything.  We have raised a generation that believes that everything is not their fault and encouraged them to use excuses and negativity as a safety valve when they get caught up in a bad decision.  

While I believe we should be sympathetic and understanding to social barriers and personal situations, I believe its time to return to responsibility.  If you make a poor decision, then you should be held accountable for the decision and the ramifications.  We are raising our children and creating a society that believes that their is no defined right or wrong. How messed up is that?  My daughter grew up in the inventive spelling and participation trophy generation.  We don’t want to hurt their imagination or their feelings.  Suppressing responsibility and delaying the truth.  This results in a rude awakening when the real world kicks in.

We can all make reasonable excuses when bad things happen.  We all have a past, personality characteristics and flaws that we have to overcome.  Some situations are complex with many characters and lots of moving parts. Certainly there are countless opportunities to place blame on others. Yet the true leaders of the world understand that taking responsibility is an essential characteristic of leadership.  Making excuses does not make you strong- it makes you a weak leader.  Your team will not respect you if all you do is deflect and blame others.  Accept your past, your flaws, and your situation and overcome them!  

Stay positive and believe in yourself and you can fight through any situation.  Take the time to think before you act.  Seems simple- but we can be so impulsive and ruled by emotion.  Ask for advice if you are unsure.  Sleep on really tough decisions.  Don’t take unnecessary risks. Your integrity is a priceless jewel- don’t risk it.  And in the end, If you mess up or things go badly, take responsibility for the outcome.  This is not always easy but you will be better for it!

So what do you think? Are we living in an age of no responsibility? Do you think we need to own up to our failures and mistakes? Please let me know by pressing “Leave a Comment” and let me know what you think!

                    

The Real Reason We Haven’t Cured Cancer

I am sure that you have been touched by the tragic effects of cancer.  My mother passed away at the age of 49 from lung cancer.  This was certainly one of the low times of my life.  I couldn’t understand how it could happen.  She wasn’t able to see her grandchildren grow up or be part of their lives.  Her life was cut off early.  I miss her every single day.

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I have a theory on why we haven’t cured cancer and other similarly tragic diseases.  And this is not your typical theory- healthy, scientific, you need to eat more of this or that, exercise more, take the right vitamins, etc.  This goes to the heart of the problem.  The real reason we haven’t been able to attack this disease properly.  So what’s the reason-

We are too cheap.

We expect someone else to handle the money that it takes to find a cure.  We want the government, rich people, philanthropists, charitable organizations, pharmaceutical companies, etc. to pay for finding a cure.

We want someone else to solve the problem.

We want to keep ALL of our money.

The real tragedy is that we have forgotten how to give.

You can always find an excuse why someone else, other than yourself, needs to provide the money.  I need to save for retirement.  I need to fund my kid’s college.  I need a new car.  I have credit card bills.  All of these are great reasons, but we cannot solve the world’s BIG problems without BIG numbers.  And it takes all of us to make it happen.

Kathy and I have been involved in many fundraisers through the years.  Kathy also leads a non-profit ministry (www.here2there.org ) that travels on mission trips to minister to others in need all over the world.  I am always amazed at how folks can get agitated when you simply ask them to give.  So they are agitated at us for trying the raise money to help out someone in need or a special cause?  That just doesn’t make any sense- right?  I am past it.  I will continue to ask and let it be their struggle- not mine.  The statistics we experience for giving are generally pretty low.  I bet less than one out of fifty give on the average.

There are plenty of ways you can rationalize not giving.  You heard the execs at the organization make big money.  You heard that the percentages that goes to research is lower than average.  You heard that someone was caught taking money at the organization.  On and on it goes…

The fact is- you can’t control those things.  And for the most part, these organizations do a pretty good job with the donations.  There is only one thing you can control- and that is to give.  If we all decided to cure cancer once and for all- we could do it.  If everyone who has a story like mine gave $1,000, we would amass such a huge amount of research money that a cure would be inevitable.  The problem is we are too cheap.  Most folks generally ignore requests to give.  They give a big fat zero!  They will leave it up to everyone else to do the giving.  And the giving is just not happening the way it should.

One way that I learned how to give was through tithing at church.  When you actually write a large check each week and find out that you will still make it financially, you are truly exercising your giving muscle.  The Lord tells us to test Him on this.  I have done it and He has always provided!

Tomorrow is Giving Tuesday, a day that is targeted for giving to non-profits and organizations that are trying to make a difference in the world.  Instead of buying a gift for someone who doesn’t really need anything, how about giving to an organization that really needs your money?  Yes- it may go towards someone’s salary and feeding their family but that’s not all bad- right?  If you are stuck on the efficiency of the organization, there are watchdog websites out there like www.charitynavigator.org  that provide ratings for non-profits that can assist you in making a giving decision.  It’s a good idea to do your homework, but don’t get too hung up on the percentages or ratings.

Give to a charity where your heart is or an organization where you have a personal connection.  Give to someone you know.  Give to an area where you want to make a difference.  Give until it hurts!  We will not solve the problems in the world until we realize that we are all individually responsible.  It’s not someone else’s responsibility- it’s yours too!  Start exercising your giving muscle.  You will find out that you can do it.  And you, yes you, will actually help to make the world a better place.

So what do you think?  Have we become too cheap to give?  Do we look to others to take care of the problems or needs?  Click on “Leave a Comment” and tell me what you think!