I was recently having a conversation with two of my co-workers about personal accountability and how we foster that in children. It all started because my co-workers three year old asked him for something and my co-worker said he would do it later, adding just as his little son went to walk away, “Make sure you hold me accountable.” We all chuckled because it seemed like such an odd thing to say to a three year old but my co-worker said he wanted to start early.
Driving home that day I started thinking about how personal accountability was fostered in me as a child. What immediately came to mind were the times I would say I couldn’t do something because “so and so” prevented me or it was hard for me to learn something because “so and so” didn’t make it easy and my mother would simply ask, “The ball took a bad hop?” I’m sure dear reader you’re probably wondering what the hell does that have to do with personal accountability, well let me explain.
My mother would quote this commercial endlessly when I was a child. As it was in circulation a good decade before I was born I only have her and some of my cousins recollection of how it went. I believe it may have been a cereal commercial but the premise was there was a little boy that complained about how everything prevented him from playing baseball well. His line was, “The ball took a bad hop, the sun was in my eyes, and this glove is too big. I tripped over that rock, stupid rock.”
The line was always delivered in this whiny sing song manner that implied that the speaker was incapable of seeing their part in what went wrong. No personal accountability. It was an affective tool for me as a child and even into my adult years. Until I realized sometimes the ball really does take a bad hop and the fucking sun is in my eyes, these damn gloves are way too big for me, and that stupid rock was in my way. Personal accountability can only go so far when life is determined to get in your way.
Which brings me to the crux of this narrative. How do you teach someone they have to be responsible for their actions knowing there will be times when somethings are just out of their control?
It’s a good thing I only have cats;)
Billy London said:
Er, blame the cat? But honestly, sometimes you just have to hold your hands up and say, no can do.
Wow, first off I would tell the person to stop whining. If there is a whine attached to something 9 times out of 10 they are not being accountable. For the 1 time that a mess up is absolutely out of your control…, just say "I screwed the pooch!" I HAVE NO IDEA WHAT THAT MEANS, BUT MY CO-WORKER SAYS THAT WHEN HE CRASHES THE COMPUTERS. HA!
Dréa riley said:
you have to teach them to be accountable not only for the actions but for their reactions or even more so IN action. live thows hella curve balls, by i am responsible for wether or not i catch the ball or let it fly past.Often times people say they can't or couldn't or were prevented as if it excuses them from the end responsibility. However unfair that may seem its not the truth. If i do nothing and my inaction brings me wealth I am surely going to taut that to the heavens and probably glorify my inaction to try to make it seem as if i really did something to get there., But if i do nothing and my inaction brings me poverty, do i deserve to bemoan my circumstances, perhaps even blam others for my paltry standing? There will always be those unknown, uncontrollable circumstances but how we take them in stride is completely up to us.