Tuesday, December 26 2017
It all comes down to choices, risk management and consequences, doesn’t it. That is not a question by the way, it’s a statement. I have pondered the thought that perhaps I have reached ‘that’ stage in life where I wonder what on earth our world is coming to. Then I realise that perhaps I am not alone after all, in that I care about our young ones and the ways of the world in which they are growing up. Are the ‘new’ ways better or worse than in my day, your day – the old days…….. Or is it that they are merely different
Education to at least year 12 and at best through to tertiary level is a given. This invariably means our children are students and almost by default ‘dependents’ (yes, there are exceptions) for far longer than ever before, and yet ‘adult privileges’ are expected. Adult privileges? That would include provision of a mobile phone, laptop computer and internet access – and liberties which once were not enjoyed whilst still living under mum and dad’s roof because there were rules. Minors’ ‘Rights’ is another potential can of worms- and I don’t mean the digging for gold miners, however I choose not to enter into that area of controversy.
So why do so many seem to have an issue around Rules. Not just young ones, there are some pretty crotchety oldies as well who believe rules are there for ‘others’ (aka Sheep!) to abide by and not them. Are Rules merely an annoyance –there to be tested then broken- or do they warrant being adhered to? I admit that I tend to abide by Rules, Laws and especially “Do Not…. “signs as I presume that they are in place for a reason. A sign stating “shallow water – do not dive” is a darn good indicator that diving in would be unsafe. No Smoking signs are not just about protecting your own wellbeing or, depending on whose side you are on, restricting your rights. Those signs are also displayed to reinforce the right that others in the same vicinity have to minimised allergens and lower health risks. Exceeding the speed limit or running a red light are irresponsible actions, if not downright dangerous, not only to you but to others who share the road with you.
On one hand there are those who argue for more government regulations to ‘fix things’. Whilst on the other, there are howls of Nanny State and that our lives are over regulated. Is it realistic to expect ‘others’ to fix our lives? Written Rules (laws) as well as the unwritten (don’t swim on a full stomach!) are in place for a reason – risk management.
You may choose to test the boundaries of these rules and then choose to ignore them. However that being your choice means you and no one else must also bear the consequences of your actions if things go pear shaped. If you choose not to swim between the flags on a surf beach- you may be caught in a rip and drown. Choose to drive in excess of the speed limit – you will likely get a hefty fine. These are called consequences for your choices. Just be aware that those choices and those consequences can impact upon others- that the consequences of your decisions or lack thereof are not always about just you. Beware the ‘damn you Jack, I’m all right’ mentality. That “drag them down they’re too big for their boots/ who do they think they are - tall poppy” syndrome.
Perhaps then it all comes down to respect- for yourself as well as for those around you. Respect and care for our neighbours as opposed to sparring. Respect and care for the welfare of those among us incapable of adequately caring for themselves – the very young and the old or those who may be physically or mentally ill. Become aware of the impact that your choices and the ensuing consequences have upon others around you. It is known as the ripple effect – like a small stone thrown into a still pond - those ripples spread widely.
Radical responsibility changes everything. It means you own your thoughts, impulses, feelings and actions. You are accountable for the consequences they bring and the impact they have on others. It’s a privilege and an honour not a burden to take ownership of your actions. It creates freedom and control. It gives meaning to life. Self-reliance is the source of personal power. We create ourselves, shape our identity and determine the course of our lives by what we are willing to take responsibility for.
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