“Responsibilities, We’ve All Still Got Them.”

A person with lots of responsibilities.

Responsibilities! We all have them, some of us have more than others. To me, responsibility is having direct control or authority over my actions or decisions and being held accountable for them.  I control them, I am the only one who can live up to them or shy away from them.

We begin to learn about responsibility and the consequences for not living up to them during childhood. For example, as a boy, it was my responsibility to keep the backyard free of weeds. My dad mowed and edged the lawn, but the weeding was my job. There were never any incentives for doing it only consequences for not getting it done. In school, I was responsible for behaving and getting good grades.

As I grew older and began driving I had even more responsibility. My dad would always remind me that whenever I was behind the wheel, I was responsible for the lives of my passengers. Then I entered the working world and the responsibilities kept a coming!  Soon came adulthood and I got married and had children and bought a house! My God, it was like responsibility overload!

There came a time when I began to doubt myself and didn’t believe I was capable of handling so much responsibility. I was afraid and even considered running away! Can you imagine, a grown man in his twenty-teens thinking about leaving it all behind and beginning again elsewhere, new name, new game. Thank God that crazy idea didn’t last long, and in time I conquered my fears and learned to accept my responsibilities. I’ve taken my responsibilities seriously ever since.

When I was still working there were a whole lot of mornings that Mr. Responsibility and I debated the likelihood of my staying home. Responsibility usually won out. I remember this one particular morning a few months before I retired, I woke up around 4:30 AM feeling horrible. I hadn’t slept well and my back was killing me. I managed to drag myself out of bed and headed to the medicine cabinet. For lack of anything stronger I took some Tylenol and laid back down. I awoke again at 7 and still felt miserable. I thought about staying home and had nearly succeeded in convincing myself that staying home was the best option. I mean that’s what sick days are for, I was justified, or so I thought.

Have you ever noticed how Mr. Responsibility has a way of showing up when you really don’t want him to? I reached for my phone and there he was, in my head trying to mess up my sick day. Oh, and he was insistent. There was no way I could miss work, not that day, one counselor was already scheduled to be out leaving only 2 counselors to run the show. Then he reminded me that we were beginning 12th-grade registration that morning. Leaving Dave to shoulder the load alone. How could I even think about doing that to him? Pain be damned, I had to go in.

On the other hand, hadn’t I covered for him in the past? He kept saying all the time that he owed me, and didn’t the boss say on Friday she was willing to help out if needed?  Besides, it wasn’t like I was faking or anything, my back was really hurting.  Worse case they could postpone registration which would put us all behind.  What to do?

The debate raging in my mind was reminiscent of a scene from the movie Animal House in which one of the characters, Pinto, is faced with a moral dilemma and is visited by his conscience – an angel and his dark side – a devil. He is bombarded by advice from both. Eventually, he makes the right decision, as did I. I blame it on the guilt but that’s just about the time my sense of responsibility kicked in.  I slowly got up, dressed and headed for work.

Chalk up another one for responsibility…

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