On Responsibilities

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On Responsibilities

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Earlier we discussed rights, now it is time to discuss their big brother, responsibilities.  For each right you claim, you inherit an equally important responsibility.

When a boy gets his first rifle, not only does he get a great privilege, but he also becomes responsible for how he uses it.  The most clichéd version of this phenomenon is the adage “you can’t yell fire in a crowded theatre”.

It is true that as an American, you have the right to say most anything you desire, but you also have the responsibility to speak the truth and not to promote violence.  The right to keep and bear arms is often mentioned, but often the responsibility for each bullet fired is not mentioned.  It does not matter what the intended consequence is nor the reasons or justifications behind the firing.  What matters is the result.  As an adult you must accept the responsibility for your actions.  You did accept the privileges, so is it not fair for you to accept the consequences also?

A saying my child hears when he refuses to acknowledge that his actions have reactions is “You can do anything your big enough to handle, but you have to be big enough to take the praise or the licks.”  All too often we as a society fail to see this as a part of life.  There is a clamoring in the halls of our government buildings to legislate everything from marijuana to marriage.

Everyone wants to be protected from the results of problems without having to take the ugly task of DEALING with the problem.  Abortion, for instance, is something everyone in society has an opinion on.  If it is permissible, when is it allowed and under what circumstances?  The question most times is not when is it okay, but why is it necessary.  Abortion for birth control means someone is not taking responsibility for his or her actions.   Another less controversial topic is the wearing of motorcycle helmets.  It is not my place to try to pass a law forcing motorcyclists to wear helmets, but neither is it my place to pay for their care if they are injured.

Today it is commonplace to hear people wanting what is owed to them.  “It’s not fair!”  ”Its my right!”  “Equal opportunity!”  All these statements ignore the realm of personal responsibility.  We might have a strong opinion on this subject, but is that not reasonable when we demand a greater freedom of action.  We advocate self-protection.  We teach people how to do what they believe is necessary to protect their family.  As such, we are held to a higher standard.  We choose not to be victimized; therefore, we must take great care not to victimize others.  This thought of personal responsibility is central to the philosophy of the Shepherd School.

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