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Raising Responsible Kids

Most needed in the next century

A reporter for The Indianapolis Star once asked historian and two-time Pulitzer Prize winner Barbara Tuchman what she felt was most needed in the next century.

“Probably personal responsibility,” she replied, explaining that this means, “taking responsibility for your behavior and your expenditures and your actions, and not forever supposing that society must forgive you because it’s not your fault.”

The crisis facing parents today is the very one Tuchman anticipated. Parents must take responsibility for their actions as well as teaching their children to do the same.

Among adults, there is a disturbing trend to reword our actions and deeds in order to make them sound like something they aren’t. The word “affair” doesn’t sound as bad as the term “adultery.” “Sharing news” sounds much better than ” spreading gossip.” “Giving out misinformation” sounds like an innocent mistake when it replaces the phrase “lying.” The truth is we can change what we call our actions but that doesn’t change the action itself. In other words, calling a rose a daisy doesn’t make it any less a rose.

Just last week a lawyer in a neighboring community was arrested for public intoxication at the county jail. It seems the lawyer was on his way to visit a client but was arrested and charged with drunkenness. “The greater crime was not being allowed to see my client,” the lawyer said arrogantly.