Sunday, December 14, 2014

Dears Sons: Take Responsibility

Dear Sons,

(Letter #22)

Hi, guys. Another letter from Mom that hopefully you'll peek at down the road and think, "Mom was right."

If there's one lesson I have learned in adulthood that took a while to get through was taking personal responsibility. It's something that you really don't "get" until you mature and figure out that you yourself are the one to blame for what happens in your life - bad or good. Sure, there are other outside influences that may sway things you do and push against you even when you're trying to do the right thing, but ultimately YOU make the choices and what happens in life is a result of the roads you have gone down and the decisions you have made along the way.

As a child I remember how hard I'd try to skirt responsibility. If something happened or didn't happen and I knew there'd be a consequence, I might not have pointed the finger directly in my sisters' direction, but I sure didn't do anything to make it obvious that I'd made a mistake and go out of my way to get them off the hook and put the heat on myself. Taking ownership of your actions is something that often comes with age. It's part of learning and growing up. But it's not always that way. And I can think of examples with you boys where you've stepped up and let us know if you had accidentally broke something or neglected to do the dishes when it was your turn, knowing that the feedback would be unpleasant. It makes me proud when that happens.

I also had a hard time with it because in my late teens and early in my working career, I had this notion that I didn't make mistakes. Everyone makes them, but for some reason I just didn't know that yet. If I did make a mistake, I didn't want others to know. I'd try to fix it quickly so no one knew I made a mistake and I wouldn't have to own up to it. Now I know it's part of life. We should try not to make them, but we do. And when we do, we need to admit that we did. And we need to do what we have to do to make it right or apologize or fix it and make sure it doesn't happen again. Trying to hide a mistake hurts only you in the end. Taking responsibility for it can lift a weight from you and it shows character.



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