Responsibility and Accountability

This past week marked the official start of our traditional year-end observances and holidays. Hanukah started on Wednesday, followed by Thanksgiving on Thursday. Both traditions offer families to opportunity to pause, reflect and honor the history that has brought us to this moment, both the inspiring events and the painful lessons.

What I witness as a clear corollary to the historical events that both move us or sadden us is either presence of responsibility and accountability, or not.

I am amazed at the lengths people go today to avoid owning a problem or mistake and how remarkably fast they switch to deflection or blame. This pattern of behavior is so engrained in the fabric of our modern culture that even the leader of the free world, that person who should be serving as a role model for principles and honor finds it difficult to accept responsibility and to be accountable when things go wrong.

With that current day observation as my opening thought, let me present my worldview on what has taken place over the past generation and brings us to this moment. As a young boy I was subject to the conditioning we used to call, “the carrot, or the stick”. This was a parenting approach that helped young minds develop awareness early on to the concept “cause and effect”. Do well and be rewarded, do poorly and be punished. The lesson of the era, with choices come consequences, both good and bad.

While pleasure is certainly a motivator, pain (not solely physical pain) too is an equally potent motivator. If the consequences of not doing or completing a task or project as promised simply means you get no cookies and ice cream, what’s the loss? If, however, that same negative outcome resulted in personal sacrifice, or loss, then there is some “skin in the game” and pain becomes an important tool that builds a baseline of consequence in the minds of those affected by it.

The negative consequences of my generation included, being grounded, losing allowance, made to perform extra chores, having to make a public contrition and yes, even the occasional corporal punishment, which established the very moral compass I still use today. Do I like admitting I’m wrong? My ego certainly doesn’t relish having to offer a mea culpa, but I feel such a sense of personal pain if I knowingly evade personal responsibility, or worse try to blame another entity. I don’t believe many of today’s younger folks have the same internal “set-point” that I operate from and that they honestly believe they are not responsible for their actions and should not be subject to any negative consequences, but should be duly rewarded if they simply meet basic expectations, not over achievement mind you, just the basics.

If our ancestors had operated the way that many of our youth do today, chances are we’re not celebrating any of these year-end observances and traditions, because we literally might not even be here or be a free people. We are all the recipients of legacies handed down to us by many generations of folks who believed in themselves and their principles of honor, respect, responsibility and accountability.

But before you go and speak with your kids about responsibility and accountability, first have a conversation with your closest friend, that person you greet each day in the bathroom mirror. Make sure your moral compass is properly calibrated and that you are qualified to assume the mantle of coach with your children. If you need to makes some changes yourself, bring those changes to your present moment awareness and consider meditation as a tool to help you align your intentions and desires with the spiritual laws of the universe.

At JothiVita, we are committed to your personal wellbeing and through our services we strive to increase your awareness to the many natural resources that can help balance your lifestyle in pursuit of good health, happiness and bliss.