Posts Tagged 'Responsibility'

Taking Responsibility

Snow on the branches.

This entry begins in my car this morning.  You see, last night, I lent my car to my mother.  While in my car (besides using up my gas), she decides that she dislikes my music and wants to switch from CD to radio.  Instead of pressing the switch button, she instructs my brother to remove the CD.  Where he removed it to, evidently, was a pile of goo (God knows what it was; I certainly don’t).  I find my radio cover (on the floor of the driver’s seat) and my CD (thrown haphazardly in a nook by the dashboard.  CD is covered in gunk and is well scratched.  Mother blames brother.  Brother blames me and my mother.  All I know is that I donated something because I’m nice to have it disrespected and some of my property ruined.  I don’t care who did it (though I am of the opinion they are both at fault) but I do need someone to take responsibility and make up for the error.

And I think that’s a huge thing in the world right now.  I know that I am more inclined to point at someone else when I have done something wrong and let them take the fall for it.  It’s one of those things that I am trying to work on myself.  Taking responsibility is hard, but it’s one of those things that if we do, and we learn from our mistakes, we become better people for it.

One of my favourite cries is “oh, but he said….” and to try to pin the blame on someone else, thus twisting the situation.  Guess what, world (and myself as well)- that doesn’t change the facts.  Yes, he may have said that but you had no right to have said this.  Be the bigger person, foresee the possible issue, do everything you can in order to be sure that it’s out of your hands… if you had, we wouldn’t be having this discussion.

My second favourite?  “It was an accident.”  Bollocks.  So you took Gramma’s expensive vase and put it on the counter where the cat knocked it over.  You may have not knocked it yourself, it was an accident, the cat did it, but guess what, peanut?  You were directly involved.  Take responsibility for your involvement.

I have a story about a time it was an accident, and someone took responsibility, and everyone was the better for it.  I lent Rent to a friend once, who lent it to someone else (whose name she didn’t know).  We tried and tried but we could not find the person she lent the movie to (this, by the way, is why I’m so anal about getting my movies back).  I was miffed, but I let it go.  What could I do, anyway?  A couple months later, the middle party – who had lost it accidentally and meant no harm – bought me a new copy because she said she felt responsible.  I was happy because I got my property back, and she felt better without carrying that burden on her shoulders.  She didn’t have to buy me a new copy.  I never asked for it.  But she did because she rightly understood that I had entrusted her with the film and she was responsible for its loss.

Granted, I suppose not everyone in the world has that guilt complex.  I know I do… but I’m also aware that my brother (jerk) doesn’t.  I spoke to him about the CD, and his response was “well, Mom didn’t like your crappy music and it’s not my fault that it got ruined.  I just took it out of the player and put it somewhere.  Get over it.”  Then he went back to munching his Pringles and turned up the tele a wee bit more.  I know this situation shouldn’t frustrate me so much… but it’s the principle of the thing.  It wasn’t a CD I purchased, but knowing that people care more about their own well being than for the sanctity of others’ property… well… the only person in my family I’m going to be lending my things to now is my father.

For those of you out there more interested in “not getting in trouble” than doing the right thing… … at the risk of sounding like a conservative mother… shame on you.

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“Nobody Here But Us Trees.”

Middle School lunch with Jon and Andy

“Always the innocent are the first victims…. So it has been for ages past, so it is now.” ~ J.K. Rowling in Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone.

Wouldn’t it be nice if you could hide away from the world, and have it dismiss you?  Have it say, “oh, that’s okay, I guess you’re really not here.”  The title of the blog entry comes from the movie Bunny Picnic.  Another Jim Henson masterpiece, I grew up on that movie.  It was mine and my brother’s Easter movie (though we were firmly reminded that Easter had nothing to do with bunnies, that was the Roman’s bright idea).  Bunny picnic is about a colony of rabbits preparing for the biggest holiday of their year.  You follow the character Bean, a ragamuffin brown rabbit who is always breaking things.  Purposefully, the other rabbits keep sending him somewhere else- they don’t want his help, he’ll break something!  Eventually what ends up happening, is a dog ends up at the Bunny Picnic!  Everyone is terrified of the dog, and they’re all hiding, and he’s going to not only ruin their holiday, but eat them all!  Om, nom, nom!  They need to make the dog go away, so a lot of the rabbits hide in the trees, and when the dog asks if there are rabbits there, Bean and the other tree-ridden rabbits respond “Nobody here but us trees.” and the silly dog believes them.  Wouldn’t it be nice if life was just that simple?

Only the sad fact is, life isn’t that simple.  Everybody wants something of us.  One of my managers usually spends Sunday running around complaining that everyone she talks to wants something from her.  I can’t really argue with her- it’s absolutely true.  We really don’t have our own lives.  It’s funny, the idea of independence is incredibly ironic, because in order to become independent from our families and go out into the world on our own, we have to heap on a bunch of responsibility.  Suddenly we have rent to pay, car payments, insurance payments, groceries, utilities, things like that.  Those are financial commitments, and by the time that we’re done paying off things, we have measly pennies left to ourselves.  And what of time commitments?  Working forty hours a week, if you’re lucky.  If you’re like most people, you have a second job because the first doesn’t pay enough or the hours are inconsistent.  Usually you work between forty and sixty hours a week between the two jobs, just trying to make ends meet.  When you get home, you’re too exhausted for anything.  Or, if you’re like me, you try to pursue your passions in the little free time you have.  Maybe you’re part of community theatre.  Maybe you volunteer somewhere.  One way or the other, your calendar is full.  It’s to the point where spending time with friends is just another time commitment, and there’s no end in sight.  Whatever happened to recess?  Summer vacation?

Childhood is where it’s at.  It was an age of innocence and joy.  Mum and dad fed you and clothed you, and the worst thing you had to worry about was bullies.  Your world was the playground.  When you were on those swings, you pumped as hard as you could until you reached the top and you felt your swing bounce just a little and you knew if you went much higher, you’d flip over and get hurt.  But it was the rush of the wind that made it all worthwhile.  You go through your school work because there was the promise of recess, of weekend, of summer vacation on the other side.  That made it worthwhile.  Elementary and middle school were dream worlds.  Oh yes, I said middle school.

Middle school is what you make of it.  It could be the awkward pimply hormonal stage of life, or it can be magnificent.  You wouldn’t have to pay me to go back and relive my middle school years.  I loved them.

Sixth grade I ended up with what I anticipated was going to be the worst teacher ever, and ended up to be one of my favourite teachers ever.  I ended up with none of my friends in that class, but I was at an age when I had no issues making new friends, and I ended up with Caitlyn, who to this day (goose, ten years later) is still very dear to me.  From her, I gained Jon and Andy.  And others.  In sixth grade, we were the most popular people in school.  I can’t even begin to describe all the memories.  Shutting Jon’s finger in the window (oops, teehee), listening to Andy sing the Beach Boys all the time (he’ll deny that now), signing things to Caitlyn in class one letter at a time (to this day, I still don’t know anything more than letters in Sign Language).  That’s just the tip of the ice berg.  I could honestly keep going forever, and just about sixth grade.

Seventh grade was just as good.  Some crazy person put all of us in the same homeroom (thanks Ms. Cass and Mrs. Gitchell!!!!) and I couldn’t’ve been happier.  There were always the lonely moments (I still have a grudge against my parents for letting me go to neither Nature’s Classroom nor Sergeant Camp, but I understand now that we really just couldn’t afford it).  But there was also yard-stick battles before school started, and Groovy!  The Musical, and all the little moments.  Superrally was fun, even with our vagabond group of friends.  In seventh grade I went to see the Attack of the Clones primere at 2am, and went to school for testing the next day (I’m stubborn).  I remember walking into the classroom and Jon looking up from his test and mouthing “how was it?”.  Teehee.  And of course the marriage project.  Oh, that may have been eighth grade.  Either way, it was funny.

In eighth grade someone remedied our sixth grade teachers’ kindness and put the four of us in different homerooms.  There was orienteering, which is probably the highlight of eighth grade for me.  The looming prospect of high school.  High school changes the innocent things.  I’d still rather redo high school than be in college, but nonetheless… it made everything separate.  Everyone put up walls.  We didn’t like each other- we tolerated each other.  It could have been the beginning of the end.  If we let it.  I think that I let it.

One of the rules of high school is that you start over.  It’s a bad rule.  It should be changed.  Friends in high school are sewn together by deceit and desperation.  In middle school and high school, it’s because of commonalities and genuine interest.  After you graduate high school, you laugh and reminisce about your middle school friends, but you kindly avoid and secretly dislike your high school friends.  At least, that was the case with me.  Of the few friends I made in high school, I tolerate them.  I don’t dislike all of them, but they all feel awkward.  Like a shirt that’s just a little bit too tight.  I’m much more inclined to want to reconnect with my middle school friends.

Then again, I’ve always been one to hold on to the past.  I like my concept of innocence.  I like freedom of mind and heart.  If I could get it back, I would, but the funny thing about innocence is that it’s exclusive to children.  I can be silly all I want, watch Disney movies, hang out with people younger than me.  Those things are fun and I enjoy doing them, but they won’t give me innocence back.


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something to think about

"You know, I don't know if you'll understand this or not, but sometimes, even when I'm feeling very low, I'll see some little thing that will somehow renew my faith. Something like that leaf, for instance - clinging to its tree despite wind and storm. You know, that makes me think that courage and tenacity are about the greatest values a man can have. Suddenly my old confidence is back and I know things aren't half as bad as I make them out to be. Suddenly I know that with the strength of his convictions a man can move mountains, and I can proceed with full confidence in the basic goodness of my fellow man. I know that now. I know it." ~ End of Act I in the musical You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown.

competing for the house cup

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