Tag Archive: responsibility


responsibilityOne of the evolutions I would like to see happen in my life in 2014 is a move towards taking greater responsibility for my actions (or at times, lack thereof).

Charles Finney once said, ‘It seems to be a law of human nature that when a person is accused of wrong, either by the conscience of any other agent, he must either confess or justify.’

We have become masters of justification, right? One of the biggest conflict causers in the first year of my marriage to the beautiful Val (tbV) was games. We love playing games, but we are both fairly competitive, and so often the end of a game would translate to one of us, or both perhaps, being in a bit of a mood (like a tsunami is ‘a bit of a wave’, you know). I would generally be in a great mood if I won, because I like winning games. But often Val would be in a bad mood if she won. And it was always my fault. Because I used to be a very bad loser.

And it was not usually overtly bad violent angry throwing-my-toys losing. No, it was much more subtle than that, and really not intended maliciously from me. From my perspective, i like to understand why I lost – if it was a strategy thing, I want to be able to figure out why it went wrong, so I play differently the next time. So it generally came from the place of me trying to analyze my game and figure things out. But to Valerie, the message was very clearly ‘Well, you couldn’t have won because you played better, it must have been luck or a bad move on my part of something I don’t understand yet.’ And so my response to losing – to justify instead of confess – took everything away from her winning. In essence I was robbing my wife of everything I liked to experience when I win a game. Not cool, Mister Fish! (and 10000 apologies, lovely wife!)

That is such a great illustration for how so many people do life, don’t you think?

Politicians… Sports stars… Movie producers after a box office bomb… Young children… me?

But not you, right? Of is some of this starting to ring some alarm bells?

When something goes wrong, the tendency is to explain it away, to cover over the seriousness of it, to justify and make excuses as to why it was not our fault.

i imagine that often it might be a combination of factors, and so perhaps a great question to start with might be, ‘What responsibility do I have in this situation?’ of perhaps, ‘How much of this do I need to own or own up to?’ Starting at that place instead perhaps ending up there after working through all the possible excuses, may be a great place to start in terms of growing character and even seeing more success happen. Because those questions, if asked honestly, can really result in much growth.

Well, for me, as I think about 2014 just being a few days away, this is something I want to be working on. And sticking it on here is the biggest form of accountability I could think of… take a month of two and all me how it’s going (and let’s hope I don’t justify!)

Starting in my game playing seems to be a more easy-to-track area… but then in my marriage, and in my friendships, and in the workplace and youth ministry, I need to learn towards confessing being my go-to place. Asking the hard questions honestly, keeping an eye on procrastination and distraction tendencies and having people check in on me.

That feels like a great and healthy evolution to see taking place in my life in 2014.

What is one thing you are going to be working on?

excuses[To head back to the start of this series, click here]

 

‘Dear Boys,

Some really horrible things happened to someone who could be one of your friends, and it was done by some people who could be your friends. You’re 11 and almost-8 now, so the incident that made me write this letter isn’t something you’ve heard about, but this stuff keeps happening, unfortunately. So I need to talk to you about it…’

Magda Pecsenye

with that attention-grabbing opening paragraph, Magda Pecsenye, who is the writer for the blog askmoxie.org addresses a topic that is close to my heart, with one of the most profound parenting pieces i think i have ever read. my friend who sent me the link, gave it the tagline, ‘This is so great. I wanna be a parent like THIS.’

you really should simply go to her website and read the letter in full – i messaged her and asked if i could reproduce it and she gave me permission to pull quotes from it and scribe a piece, but really you are not going to be able to get the full effect unless you head on over to her site and just read the whole thing.

Magda is clearly someone who has been open and honest with her boys from a young age [which, even as a non parent, i think is completely the way to go – my official ‘introduction to sex’ was the ‘what every boy should know about sex’ book that was left on my bed by my parents when i turned 21 if i recall correctly]. But by encouraging open talk and discussing things such as boundaries and appropriate behaviour and acknowledging when someone is saying “No!” and being okay with presenting your own “No!” in circumstances you are not feeling comfortable with, it feels like she has laid an excellent foundation for the message that follows.

she moves effortlessly from her explanation of the sex talks that have happened as her little guys have started growing towards the age of being young men [they are 8 and 11 now] to a space of really describing beautifully where the place of sex is:

‘If you’re ever in a situation in which someone is asking you for it and you don’t want to have sex with that person, don’t do it. And if you’re ever in a situation in which you want to have sex but the other person doesn’t ask you for it, don’t do it. It’s only good if you both want it, and can tell each other you want it, and are sure you both want it. Otherwise someone’s going to get hurt. And romance is weird enough without hurting other people when you can stop yourself (and you can always stop yourself–that goes along with having opposable thumbs).’

she then closes off with some words of wisdom for her two young boys because “Not everyone you know has been taught all the stuff we’ve talked about.” and ends with some instruction of how they should behave if they are in a situation where someone is hurting a girl in some way and you can check out the full list on her blog here but i wanted to highlight the second of them:

2. If it’s not safe for you to say something, leave the room quietly and calmly and call me. I do not care if you’re someplace you’re not supposed to be, or not the place you told me you were, or in Canada or someplace that would normally get you in a lot of trouble. You get immunity if you’re calling for help. My phone is always on, and it does not matter what time of day or night it is. If I don’t pick up right away, call your dad, and the same immunity rules apply. Call one of us and give us the address of where you are and we will come help. Then hang up and call 911. Tell them the address and that there’s an assault going on. They might want you to stay on the line with them until the police get there.

the bit about immunity is priceless. this is a parent who loves her kids and is training them in the way they should go [i’m sure i heard that somewhere before] and she ends off this amazing epistle by reminding them of that ad of her belief that they are really going to ‘get’ this:

We’ve been practicing to step in and help someone else. You can do it. I have faith in you.

Love,

Mom

amazing, incredible, life-changing and who knows, person-saving?

but this has just been a taste – give yourself an extra few minutes and read the whole post here and see what else this lady has to say…

<span>%d</span> bloggers like this: