The Art of Taking Responsibility

We live in a fast-paced, technology-based world that has enabled people to do or learn almost anything in record time. 

However, with all its benefits, technology cannot solve one quality missing in many people’s lives today–the art of taking responsibility for our actions. 

Don’t get me wrong! 

While it is a quality that lives inside each of us and is ready to be available to us, taking responsibility for our actions is something fewer people are learning to utilize in their skill sets. Deflecting blame on something else or on others is becoming more of the mindset today. 

While some parents lead by example and show how to take responsibility for their own lives, many in our fast-paced world do not. Let me tell you how I began learning to take responsibility as a young child. 

Lessons on the Farm

I grew up on a farm with my mom, dad, and two older sisters. My sisters had completed school and were away in college when I began elementary school. Living on a farm was lonely at times for a young boy. I had no one to play with, but my imagination made up for the lack of friends. In my made-up world, I could be anyone and do anything because I was the boss. 

I was the best at any game. I remember many times using a bat and a small stone from the gravel road to our house to play baseball in the fields. I could be the batter in the bottom of the 9th with the bases loaded. It might be the 10th try, but I would hit a home run. I had just become the most valuable player and the hero. That was until my dad mowed the field and damaged the blade of his mower with the rocks I had left in the field. He would have to spend hours fixing the equipment. Believe me, life was not so fun for me when that happened! 

As I became older, I continued to learn that life comes with responsibility. Life on the farm was fun, but it was also a life of hard work with consistent natural lessons in taking responsibility. 

Daily activities included making sure that the cows were milked, gates were closed after you opened them, and nothing was left in the fields to damage equipment blades. Responsibilities to others included being kind, polite, and respectful. There were times I didn’t get it right, but we learned from our mistakes. If we did not get it right, my parents and I had a price to pay in natural consequences. 

It’s Their Fault, Not Mine!

Now, fast forward many years. We live in a world that is like being on a roller coaster ride from one day to the other. We are so busy as we juggle our lives, our families, and our jobs, and we become blind to the importance of growing ourselves and taking personal responsibility for our own actions. 

When something goes wrong, we must be able to deal honestly with how much of the situation is our responsibility. Like Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, our nature wants to blame others: “I’m not taking the blame; it's his/her fault.” There are times we pass the buck when we know we are either at fault or share some fault. 

Taking responsibility for all areas of our lives is important to become well-rounded individuals. We often have an exercise plan that keeps us in shape, a direction for our career, a plan for our finances, etc. We also need to add a plan for our emotional and mental well-being and growth. Too often, we have no plan for this area of our lives. 

Taking Inventory–It’s Not Just for Shopkeepers

It is important to take an inventory of ourselves in all areas of our growth. We can ask trusted friends for their insights on growth areas they see in us. If these friends point out certain areas, we may need to do some additional work. 

When a seed is planted in the ground, life begins to take form as the seed sprouts into something new. A stock of corn produces hundreds of kernels of corn, a few bags of wheat produce several wheat fields, and grass seeds produce acres of hay. This is the circle of life. 

When we decide to change our old selves into something better, something amazing happens. This is beneficial not only to us but also to the people around us. Personal growth produces a treasure for those around us and a lasting legacy for those in the future.

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