Responsibility February 2020
We love what those who govern give us: military protection, food stamps, police-controlled neighborhoods, emergency rooms, schools for our children, libraries, and highways. What we don’t like, and I believe this is universal, are rules and regulations that hamper our personal choices.
It starts around a child’s second or third birthday when he or she tries out the word “NO” on a parent. In some families, this challenge to authority can lead to relationship changes that the defiant child never anticipated. I remember one comedian’s line when he told his mother NO. She responded with a back hand that sent him from sixth grade back to kindergarten. Fred Sanford used to tell Lamont, “I brought you into this world, and I can take you back out again!” In your teen years you heard this more than once, “As long as you’re under my roof, you WILL live by my rules.” Most people only respond to positive reinforcement, but there are others that will only “get it” when the consequences are profoundly out of proportion with their misdeeds. Thus prisons.
It is very easy to give too much and spoil the child. Ask any divorced father with visitation rights every other weekend. Ask him again when the child is in his or her 30’s about how that worked out. With gifts there must be matching responsibilities. At the very least, one must be taught to care for that which was given.
People are driving like lunatics in far more places, and at far more dangerous speeds, and far more often than ever before. If you watch the car advertisements on video from twenty years ago, you can see the patterns that were burned into the future driver’s minds forty times per day throughout childhood and young adulthood. It looked like fun to drive fast with all your friends in the car on the way to the Club, sliding around turns with a grin on your face. Schools were teaching that each individual decided what was right and wrong. Curriculum in our halls of learning preached, “There is no God to push you around and tell you what you cannot do.” Although the administrators meant that in terms of politics and in the face of gross criminal acts, that was not how the children of the time translated it. Their graduation attitude was, “I’m going to do what I want with no one to push me around about so-called morality.”
God knew what he was doing. He first laid down ten solid edicts about our actions to keep us safer. Let’s summarize: 1. I, God, am the rule maker. 2. Don’t cuss me out. 3. One day a week honor me and have a good rest. You need a rest and I don’t want to hear your complaints about all the gifts I have given you. 4. Respect your mother and father so you don’t end up with Fred Sanford. 5. Try not to kill each other and go to prison filled with guilt. 6. Don’t bump uglies in the middle of the night with someone you haven’t married in the broad daylight. 7. If something doesn’t belong to you, leave it where you find it. You will not be blessed if you take it. 8. Don’t lie or you will be lieing about your lies until you can’t remember your story. You will need Tylenol. 9. You want someone else’s wife? You have no idea what that is going to look like if I gave her to you. Husbands either. 10. Don’t want what others have because you will never know what it cost them to get those things or hold onto them.
Be responsible and do the right thing – every time.