Yesterday I had some interesting conversations and emails. Many centered around “personal responsibility” and the “blame game” that many succumb to in trying to justify their own failure. Here is an example:
What teacher, coach, or director would say to their students, “You only need to attend 60% of your classes and practices in order to be part of the program. We will also personalize the entire program for you and even if you don’t meet those minimal objectives we will still let you argue with us and blame us for failing you.”
Sound absurd? It happens when people don’t accept their own responsibility and decide it is better to blame someone else. Here is a radical statement. We are responsible for our own learning and growth, especially as adults. It may be true that our government demands children be provided the equal opportunity for education from kindergarden through high school but the very nature of the word “teach” explains the need for responsibility on the part of parents and students. Teach really suggests “to draw out of” a student. The teacher, more than pouring information into a child, is responsible for drawing out of a student the ability to learn and grow. In order to do that the student needs to show up and parent is responsible for helping them to show up. In fact Woody Allen correctly said, “Eighty percent of success is showing up.” He may be right on many levels.
We have lived in a culture that is more and more dependent on governmental services and societal care-taking. We now blame others for our lack of achievement and learning. The truth is and has always been we have personal responsibility. I’m not speaking of poverty and social injustice. I’m speaking primarily about learning and growth. We must take responsibility to learn and not scape goat others when we don’t.
I had a teacher in first grade that I did not like. She was hard on me and the other students. I came home and complained to my parents how mean she was. My kidnergarten teacher had been so good that the new teacher seemed like an ogre. Do you know what my parents said, “You are responsible for learning and getting along with your teacher. Stop complaining.” We all need to take more personal responsibility when it comes to learning. Blaming others simply makes us more dependent and less responsible.