Posts Tagged ‘actions’

You Have a Brain in Your Head

Tuesday, September 2nd, 2014

Our little Princess has been having some problems lately. They involve accepting responsibility for her actions.


It’s hard to do that even as adults but for her – the one who has always been perfect in the eyes of her Grandpa – it seems especially hard. She tries to explain that she had to do what she did. Her friend told her to. Of course, we know the ‘if your friends all jumped off a cliff’ saying and we go ahead and say it. She tries other arguments. The ones that go, I didn’t think you would care just this once and I can’t help myself. I just do it without thinking. And there is always ‘the devil made me do it’. Somehow we just aren’t buying any of them.

The other day, since consequences and the ‘jumping off a cliff’ talk wasn’t working, I decided to try a different quote.

This one from Dr.  Seuss. “You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes.
You can steer yourself in any direction you choose.  You’re on your own, and you know what you know. And you are the guy who’ll decide where to go.”  I know she understands this.  For her, the difficulty comes when her friends want her to do what she knows is wrong.  She gives in and then compounds the problem by refusing to accept her responsibility.

It’s not her fault. She had to do it.

Thinking about this – and being frustrated about my inability to get through to her – I searched for examples of adult behavior in these same circumstances. I was struck by how often we, who should be showing her how to stand up for what is right, have been modeling for her the behavior she uses. It’s not our fault we yelled obscenities at the driver in the car next to us.  He was driving like an idiot and, besides, I had a rough day at work. It’s not my fault.  I didn’t remember it was my turn to bring the snacks to the kids sports game. I was busy with things at work and forgot. It’s not my fault is our battle cry. When we hang out with the kind of people we tell them to avoid, when we shirk our responsibilities, when we break those little pesky speed limit laws, even in the littlest things, we can’t just say “I screwed up. I’m sorry.” When it comes to the big things —– well, let’s just not go there.

I’ve decided to focus a little more carefully on accepting responsibility myself. After all, even though she won’t admit it, she models herself after me and her mother and her grandfather. We are the ones responsible for showing her how a true adult acts just as you are responsible for showing your children how they should act.  Let’s all work a little harder at being the mature adult we hope they will someday become.

April 29 Daily Verse

Monday, April 30th, 2012

James 1:22

But be doers of the word, and not hearers only

Lord, we attend church each Sunday as You asked us to do. We hear Your word preached from the pulpit each week. Remind us, when we leave the church each week, that we represent You to a world that needs You. Remind us to watch each step we take that we may bring praise to You and not criticism. Open our eyes so that we can understand when You have placed in our path an opportunity for us to be doers of the word. Keep us aware at all times that we are called by Your name and so should act as Christ would act.

April 20 Quote of the Day

Friday, April 20th, 2012

Things don’t have to change the world to be important.
Steve Jobs

If, on occasion, you feel that the things you do aren’t really that important, try to remember this quote. What you do may just be the little things but they are the foundation on which those who do big things can stand.

March 13 Daily Verse

Tuesday, March 13th, 2012

Matthew 5: 16

Let your light so shine before men that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.

Lord, I read your gospels and I recognized something that I hadn’t before. When You came to earth, the people followed you everywhere. They didn’t come to hear what You had to say. They came to be healed. They saw Your works and glorified Your Father in heaven. Lord, help us remember that all the talk in the world won’t take the place of our actions. Help us go daily through life being aware of what we do so that we will always do those things that will bring glory to Your Kingdom.

The Devil Made Me Do It!

Tuesday, February 21st, 2012

For just a moment, let’s look at this scenario. You are out to dinner with an acquaintance. Bored with the discussion, you have placed one elbow on the table and your chin in your hand as you listen to your dinner partner drone on and on. He notices this indiscretion of yours and reminds you that it isn’t polite to put your elbows on the table. You can’t believe he just said that! Who is he to tell you how to act? So you put your other elbow on the table and pronounce defiantly, ‘Really?!’ You have just broken a rule of etiquette. Whose fault is it?

Most of us are going to blame the dinner partner for ticking us off and causing us to react as we did. But, honestly, he didn’t reach across the table, grab your arm and force your elbow to the table. That elbow is still attached to your arm and you are still the one in control of what that arm does. You know the rules of etiquette and you are quite capable of living by them. In this case, you have chosen not to. You may be justified in your reasoning for breaking the rule but that doesn’t make it anyone’s fault but your own.

When we were children, we all tried these arguments. He hit me first! She took my toy so I scribbled on her paper. He called me a name so I pushed him down. It was always someone else’s fault and we felt we were justified in our reactions. We also felt totally victimized when we were punished for it anyway. We’re not children anymore. We’re adults. It’s time we recognize that we can not justify our behavior by blaming someone else. Everyone in the office takes home office supplies when they need them so why shouldn’t I? It doesn’t matter how many others are doing it. Theft is theft. If there were an earthquake in your area and buildings were damaged, would you go into a store and pick out whatever you wanted? Dozens of others will be doing just exactly that but looting is looting. You can’t justify it by pointing to others and their behavior.

Just as common is the tendency to blame our parents for the way we act now. If it’s a little thing, we say ‘it’s just the way I was brought up. I have a hard time breaking that habit.’ It’s all Mom and Dad’s fault. They didn’t bring me up right. We even try to blame Mom and Dad for the abuse and neglect of our children! We don’t want to look at the thousands of others out there who were abused and neglected as children and still managed to turn their lives around and give a better home for their families. We blame our parents because we drink too much or smoke too much or any other number of vices. If you take the time to look at it, 30 years ago no one knew smoking caused cancer and it took even longer for people to realize that secondhand smoke was dangerous. Even if we didn’t know that, your parents are not standing there handing you one-too-many alcoholic beverages and they aren’t standing there forcing that cigarette between your lips. You are in control of the movements you make.

Yes, others can influence our behavior but it’s our choice which path we walk down. Accept responsibility for what you do and who you are. Start today by choosing one thing that you’ve allowed to slide in your life because it’s easier to blame someone else than to break the habit. Make each day a source of improvement. Other people can influence you. Only you can decide how that influence will play out in your life.