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  • Writer's pictureStand Sure In Life

The Death Of Accountability

The following showed up on my timeline recently and it got me thinking about how easy it is to blame others or circumstances for our behaviour, rather than holding ourselves accountable for our own actions.

“I grew up in the UK and never once questioned my parents income, it was never a discussion. We didn't eat a lot of fast food because it was considered a treat, not a food group. We ate homemade meals consisting of meat, potatoes, and vegetables - (which were not an optional choice).No vegetables, no dessert!!!

“We grew up during a time when we mowed lawns, pulled weeds, babysat, helped neighbours with chores to be able to earn our own money. We by no means were given everything we wanted.

“We went outside a lot to play, ride bikes, run with friends, play hide and seek, or went swimming. We rarely just sat inside. Bottled water was unheard of. If we had a coke, it was in a glass bottle, and we didn’t break the bottle when finished. We saved it and cashed it back in at the shops for a sweet.

“After school, we came home and did homework and chores, before going outside or having friends over. We would ride our bikes for hours. We had to tell our parents where we were going, who we were going with, and be home when the street lights came on!

“You LEARNED from your parents instead of disrespecting them, and treating them as if they knew absolutely nothing. What they said was LAW, and you did not question it, and you had better know it!

“We watched what we said around our elders because we knew if we DISRESPECTED any grown-up we would get a real telling off, it wasn't called abuse, it was called discipline! We held doors, carried the shopping, and gave up our seat for an older person without being asked. You didn't hear swear words on the radio in songs or TV.

“'Please' and 'Thank you' were part of our daily vocabulary!

“The world we live in now is just so full of people who hate and disrespect others.

“Consider Re-posting if you're thankful for your childhood. I will never forget where I came from and only wish children now days had half the chance at the fun and respect for real life we grew up with! And we were never bored!”

Now. I agree with most of what is said in this post. However, we did all that because we were taught that and we had role models who led by example. Every primary school I’ve worked in teaches these expectations of politeness and good behaviour. But as the child gets older they push the envelope to see what they can get away with and may challenge authority too as part of their own learning and development.

Everything a child does is by learning and example (yes there are some instinctive things they naturally (somehow) do). But adults do it as well. A person in a relationship is going to get influenced by their partner in much the same way a child gets influenced by those they spend the most time with. It can hardly be surprising therefore that when someone spends a lot of time on TikTok, YouTube or gaming that they get influenced from those sources - regardless of how inappropriate it may be!

It's very easy to blame the youth but sadly a lot of it is because there is a generation of "adults" who don't want to educate them, don't see it as their job, or don't care. With the advent of "social" media, behaviour is not something that's monitored because everyone will cite "freedom of speech" as a thinly veiled reason to spread hate.

All you need to do is look at the atrocious way politicians behave - especially in America. They will lie and cheat for their own ends and they get away with it. They spout so much bile and play on the emotions of people to get the results they want rather than what’s best for everyone. They use the media to spread lies like wild fire and because people aren’t prepared to do their own research, or don’t see the point because the news is the truth, they buy into the propaganda. They spread hate and violence and will use excuses for their behaviour.

Agreeing or disagreeing with a political party is a perfectly natural thing and indeed a right thing. In the same way as agreeing or disagreeing with a person about any other belief they may have is also necessary. After all if we all agreed with the same things etc. then life would be boring and nothing would ever get done. But when a disagreement turns to violence (in words and/or deeds) that’s inexcusable.

“I was only following orders” was the excuse that many Nazi’s gave when they were being held accountable for their actions…but it’s a thin excuse! In much the same way as it is unlikely Putin will face charges for his invasion on Ukraine any time soon, but his soldiers who commit the atrocities are likely to be charged with war crimes.

The sad thing is though that many of us lack the maturity to admit our shortcomings or our failings. We will blame everything under the sun for our behaviour as if it’s controlling us. We always have a choice….always and it doesn’t matter what situation or circumstance we find ourselves in…there is always a choice. We can either choose to deal with something humanely, decently, politely, respectfully, etc. or we can choose to shout, bang the table, hurl accusations around, become violent.

There are rules and laws in place. In democratic countries they have been voted on by the politicians and the majority wins. Whether you like the law or not is irrelevant. But you have the freedom of choice to follow the letter of the law or not. If you choose to ignore the law then you must be prepared to face the consequences. If you think it’s ridiculous to have a 70mph speed limit on the UK motorways and dual carriageways, then by all means go faster - but don’t complain if you get ticket.

All these things influence the young people we have today. We have to think what kind of message are we sending to these youngsters? Youth acts up, always has always will. Many of them want the freedom of “adulthood” without the responsibility. Many of them will cite boredom as a reason for them doing stuff. I’ve never been bored a day in my life, I’ve always found something to do, but the youth that cause the problems nearly always cite boredom as a reason. There are some people who do wonderful work for young folk, but how many of us talk to them to try and help them? How many of us actually respect them, whether we get respect in return…in fact how many of us respect other people regardless of age, gender identity, sexuality, “status” etc.

The more people continue to hide behind their computers spreading vile, hateful stuff, refusing to be held accountable for their actions the more the future generations are going to struggle. Lead by example not by words. Discipline but don’t get violent. Explain don’t expect (ie don’t expect someone to do something “because I said so”. Take ownership of your actions and help everyone, especially our youth, live an accountable life.

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