Responsibility

Teaching Responsibility in the age of “Not My Problem”

I have often heard the Beatitudes described as Jesus’ description of how his followers should live counter-culturally. It’s a description of them that I’ve long loved, and in the wake of the Newtown tragedy, it has saddened me to see the immediate chorus of finger pointing from various, all intent on casting the blame elsewhere.

I strongly believe that, as ministers to children, we have the opportunity to train up with kids to take responsibility for the world around us. As Michelle Anthony writes in Spiritual Parenting, “What would our world look like if a new generation felt responsible for the world that they live in and gave generously, selflessly and with abandonment? I want my children to live in a world like that!”.

Sadly, the reality of our culture, and our sinful hearts, is well captured by Jack Johnson in his song Cookie Jar. Check it out:

Well it wasn’t me, says the boy with the gun
Sure, I pulled the trigger, but it needed to be done
Because life’s been killing me ever since it begun
You can’t blame me cause I’m too young

Well you can’t blame me
Sure, the killer was my son
But I didn’t teach him to pull the trigger of the gun
It’s the killing on the TV screen
You can’t blame me
It’s those images he’s seen

Well you can’t blame me, says the media man
Well I wasn’t the one who came up with the plan
And I just point my camera at what the people wanna see
Man, it’s a two-way mirror
And you can’t blame me

Well you can’t blame me, says the singer of the song
Or the maker of the movie, which he based his life on
It’s only entertainment and as anyone can see
It’s smoke machines and makeup
Man, you can’t fool me

It was you, it was me, it was every man
We’ve all got the blood on our hands
We only receive what we demand
And if we want hell, then hell’s what we we’ll have

The ripples of what we say, do, watch and partake in extend further than we imagine. It’s all too common to only accept responsibility for the consequences that can be directly traced to me. As people who get to speak truth in the next generation, let’s encourage them (and ourselves) to choose to see and take responsibility for our actions, no matter how far they go.

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