Growing up is not a process that can be finished in a short time yet instead could actually span the course of an entire lifetime. Remember this when I use the term “growing up”, so you realize it doesn’t just apply to the younger generation, but encompasses us all. In the beginning of our journey into adulthood, almost all of us need a little assistance. There is no shame in asking for it. Just remember though, while there is no shame in asking for it, there is in demanding it. There is shame in expecting someone to jump in at your request and fulfill all your wants at the mere asking. Once you step into the adult world and make adult choices, be prepared to stand behind your choices and carry them out on your own. Remember, assistance is a gift not a requirement. No one owes you anything and you should demand nothing. Anything given is a blessing. Many just grow older and expect that the world owes them something. They expect someone to take care of all their needs while they sit on their hind ends and snivel on how the world gave them the “crappy end of the stick.” Bad choices make bad consequences and we each should have to shoulder the blame for our own decisions. At best, the right decisions can mean we have to put in long, hard hours of work and do without the frills we want in our lives. Many millionaires started their monetary future with a beat up, worn out car, a sleeping bag, and a dietary intake that consisted of ramen noodles or macaroni and cheese. Many people in this world have severe handicaps and are unable to care for themselves. Many with severe handicaps have beaten the odds with a good mental attitude and a strong will to achieve. I have actually watched a young man without legs play football! I have seen people without arms feed themselves with their feet and in one case, an individual painted a beautiful picture with the paintbrush between their toes. I watched a televised show where a successful and extremely intelligent man was entirely paralyzed and could not speak – make a success of his life by working with equipment that responded to his eye blinks! Watch my video on Facebook or my website at the amazing young man who uses his life as an example to never give up hope or trying to succeed. AMAZING! In review of it all, I do know there are cases when someone needs help and there are cases where some are completely disabled. I agree we should assist these individuals without waiting for a natural disaster or for a TV camera to be shoved in our faces. Our assistance should be done without the expectation of grandeur or pats on the back. Acts of kindness are gifts from the heart without caring if anyone knows they were done. While growing up, life throws us all different curves and litters the road ahead with potholes. My father use to tell me “Baby, it is not hitting the pot hole that reflects on your character, but how you get out of it that will tell what kind of person you are.” I have to chuckle because it is the truth. It is all a part of growing up and sometimes you have to accept responsibility for getting out of that particular problem by yourself. To give you a graphic example of what I am talking about, I will tell you one of my stories. I was 17 years old and had a mobile home next to my parent’s house. The graveled road we lived off of was several miles long, littered with uncountable potholes. I was still young and found great fun speeding down the road and sliding around the corners. My dad would always tell me to be careful or I would knock the front-end alignment out of my Nova if I kept hitting the potholes. My brother would ride with me and look at me in amazement and say, “I have never seen anyone hit every pot hole in the road! Are you aiming for them?” Of course I wasn’t aiming for them but neither was I trying to avoid them. The day came when I would have to fight with the steering wheel to keep it on the road. My tires were wearing out and the man at the tire store said I needed a front-end alignment. I did not have the money so I called my dad and explained the situation. I know you can probably guess what his reply was. I drove my car home and went into his house to get the ultimate lecture I thought came with getting assistance from your parents. Young and foolish, I figured I would sit through the lecture, he would hand over the cash, and my car would be fixed. I felt bad because I would have to sit and listen to him and would have it rubbed in for the next year. At the time, I thought the price I had to pay to get the car fixed was to listen to it. I walked into the house and flopped down on the couch, preparing myself to zone out while he fussed, and zone back in when the money was being handed to me. Boy was I wrong! That day I was taught a lesson I would never forget, and would carry it with me throughout my life. My family was not rich and my dad was disabled. He walked in and looked me square in the eyes as he pointed his cane at the road. “Young lady, I told you to drive responsibly and not hit every pothole in that road. You made the choice not to heed my advice, even though I explained to you the consequences.” I muster up a tear as I say, “I am sorry dad, and I just thought you would help me.” He replied, “I did help – I told you not to hit the potholes or it would tear up your car and that help did not cost a dime.” I replied with there was no way I could fix the car and I needed to get back and forth to work. He told me that I should have thought of that when I was tearing up my car. After my scolding, my dad picked up the phone, called Dick Castleman at Castleman tires, and told him he would pick up the tab. Mr. Castleman was a good friend of dads, and he always tried to watch out for me as well. Mr. Castleman told him to have me bring in the car. What happened next surprised me, yet turned out to be one of the best lessons I was ever taught. My daddy handed me a list of jobs I had to do in my spare time. I had to hoe his garden, clean out the chicken coop, cut the grass around the fence row. The list continued for two pages. He looked at me and said, “Baby, I love you. I love you enough to teach you that no one should have to pay for your mistakes but you. I am not always going to be around to help you out of them. You are going to earn the money to pay this bill even though your mother and I should not have to do without because of your poor judgment. Our money is hard to come by and our bills come due just like yours. The next time you choose not to listen to my advice, but feel adult enough to make your own decisions – then you will pay for them. I would not have hired anyone to do these things on this list; I would have done them myself. You may not believe it now but I have done you a favor by allowing you work it off.” To shorten this story I will go directly to the end. My car was fixed that day and when I drove it home, I carefully dodged the potholes in the road. I worked every day after work helping my parents catch up with the farm work. I fell into bed dead tired, got up, drove to work, and missed the potholes in the road. My dad did a favor by warning me of the potholes and by allowing me to work off the bill. I knew he wouldn’t help me if I hit the potholes again and I knew I didn’t like the double shifts of working. It is easy to tear things up, spend money excessively, and do as you want, if there is someone around that will constantly bail you out. You could even grow older expecting handouts for your poor choices. However, you cannot “grow up” expecting it. My dad and mom did not get to eat out that month as they usually did. They missed their eight packs of RC Colas for the month along with many other things so they could help me learn a life’s lesson. A lesson I wish everyone knew. I watch the news, meet people, and read many publications that depict the situation the world is in. One of the most amazing things I do see is a world of people who refuse to take responsibility for the choices they have made. It does not matter if they are good choices or bad choices – they expect someone to step up to the plate for them and either bail them out or take responsibility for their decisions. We all make mistakes, so it is not the potholes we hit in life, but how we come out of them that matters. It isn’t the choices we make that are hard, but the consequences from the choices that are difficult. So many people are quick to point out that a certain phrase I use is not found in the Bible. Therefore, I rephrase it for them. “Rhia does not help a person who will not help themselves.” I would not be helping them if I allowed them to sit idly by as I corrected their mistakes for them. Growing up is hard to do at any age. Lessons can be hard and because they are, we will learn by them. When you work hard to get something, you will appreciate and take better care of it than if someone just gave it to you. The same applies to life. If you experience the hardships of your choices, decisions and the consequences from them, you will make better decisions. Growing up is hard to do no matter what the age. You have a couple of choices though – you can take handouts from people who do without for your mistakes, or you can ask for help (not expect it) now and then and grow up to be a success all on your own. This blog is about growing up and taking responsibility for your choices. It is about appreciating the help you receive instead of thinking you are owed it. It is about realizing the sacrifices others make to help you learn from your mistakes – and it is about standing on your own two feet instead of riding on someone’s back. It is not about choices, because we all have them. It is about realizing no one is responsible for your choices but yourself. Sometimes help is not handing over money or doing it for someone – it is about allowing him or her to do it for himself or herself.
The price of greatness is responsibility.
Sir Winston Churchill (1874 – 1965)
Character – the willingness to accept responsibility for one’s own life – is the source from which self-respect springs.
Joan Didion (1934 – ),
We have gotten to the point where everybody’s got a right and nobody’s got a responsibility.
Newton Minow, chairman of the FCC
I believe that every right implies a responsibility; every opportunity an obligation; every possession a duty.
John D. Rockefeller Jr.