Taking personal responsibility for our actions

All you have to do is read the newspaper or listen to the news to realize that people are taking less responsibility for themselves and for the consequences that their actions bring. It seems as though almost every day there is another new lawsuit being announced.

One of my peeves (as a former fast-food worker) are the lawsuits that are coming against McDonald’s and other fast-food chains for their part in the growing number of obese children. Why is the weight of our children the restaurant industry’s fault? Isn’t this a parental matter? Where did the children get the money to buy the food or who took them there to eat to begin with?

And that is just one example of lawsuits being levied against companies because people are loathe to admit that their predicament might just be their own fault.

What happened to the good old-fashioned days when if you spilled coffee on yourself and got burned it was your own fault for sticking the cup of ‘hot’ coffee between your legs while driving? Have you ever really read the warning labels for some products? It’s actually quite an amusing exercise. Because you can almost bet that the seemingly obvious or “stupid” warnings resulted from someone, somewhere in the world actually doing whatever the action that is being warned against is. And in today’s society, the company is held liable (most of the time) if a consumer happens to use a product in an incorrect manner and then injures themselves. I really think that’s sad.

And we as adults need to stop and think about the values we’re teaching our kids by consistently blaming others for our problems. If we were to listen for an entire day in juvenile court I’m sure we’d already hear every defendant say that what happened wasn’t their fault because of ______ (fill in the blank). We need to start taking responsibility for our actions and we need to start expecting others to as well.

Now I do believe there are some medical conditions or other forces beyond our control that sometimes are to blame for situations. But we should stop and examine what’s really happening and why before we try to shift the responsibility.

It’s an age-old problem that began in the Garden of Eden when Adam and Eve were confronted by God for eating the forbidden fruit. Adam blamed Eve and Eve had the still-famous excuse “the devil made me do it”. Well, not really – the devil ‘tempted’ her and she ‘chose’ to sin. Maybe if we’d remember that distinction a bit more, we’d see more people stepping up to the plate and taking responsibility for themselves.