Monday, November 8, 2010

85) Teach children lessons - Accepting Responsibility

"People need responsibility. They resist assuming it, but they can't get along without it." John Steinbeck.

On November 4, between 1 and 2 AM, Singapore time, we watched President Obama's press conference, after the mid-term election results were announced. His Party had suffered a battering in the House of Representatives and just managed to hang on to a slender lead in the Senate. It was not a good time to face the press. Yet, with composure and dignity, he fielded questions (some tricky ones also), to give Americans and the World an answer they were looking for - the future would be better than the past.

What struck us during the one hour press meet, was his courage and humility to accept responsibility for the current state of affairs. He did not offer excuses; did not look for scapegoats; and did not pass the buck. Instead, the man that he is, he took the assaults on his chin, held himself responsible for what went wrong and promised to work harder to deliver better results. In the words of R. L. Stevenson, "he was like a clock in a thunderstorm" - ticking away despite the storm raging around him.

When things go wrong how do we react? Get into the blame-game? Look for excuses? Nail others? When we play such games, our children will learn to excel in them. If they score well in a test, proudly they take credit. But if they do badly it is the teacher to blame - she set a tough question paper; she did not teach well; she was not fair in evaluation. When will the blame-game stop? Only when we choose to end it - like President Obama. Growth in our children will begin only when they stop blaming others.

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