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Man Up!

January 21, 2010
John Edwards official Senate photo portrait.
Image via Wikipedia

Good for you, John Edwards! You Manned Up!  You took PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY for your actions.  Yes, there have and may be consequences for your affair, but you have owned up to what you did.  There are a lot of people who could learn a lesson or two from your actions this week.
For those of you out of the loop, John Edwards (D) is a former two time presidential candidate and former U.S. Senator form North Carolina.  In 2008, he admitted  having an affair but not fathering a child with Rielle Hunter.   This week, Edwards acknowledged his paternity of Frances Quinn Hunter.  Edwards said, “It was wrong for me ever to deny she was my daughter and hopefully one day, when she understands, she will forgive me…. I have been providing financial support for Quinn and have reached an agreement with her mother to continue providing support in the future,” the statement said. “To all those I have disappointed and hurt, these words will never be enough, but I am truly sorry.”

Personal responsibility is in scarce supply these days, it seems.  I hear people blaming their parents, their school, the government, their spouse, their job, BLAH, BLAH BLAH! for choices they have made that were wrong, irresponsible, or just didn’t work out.  I know.  I used to be one of them.
Why is it we are so reluctant to own up to things we have done, problems we have caused?  Fear?  Guilt?  Lazy?  Apathy?  Insensitivity?

The old saying USED to go “you’ve made your bed, now lie in it.”

The American Heritage Cultural Dictionary entry says:

You’ve made your bed, now lie in it
:  You made a decision and now must accept its consequences.

Note: This expression is commonly used as a response to people who have been complaining about problems they have brought on themselves.

I don’t condone John Edwards’ affair.  But, I admire him for doing the hard thing and admitting it and accepting responsibility for his actions.

There are public programs galore that are basically a bailout for “fixing” people’s bad choices… at the taxpayer’s expense.  Just daydreaming here, but what do you think the federal budget would be if people actually took some responsibility for their lives, owned up to their actions and lived with the consequences?  Jail and fines are the consequences for prosecuted criminals…  why don’t people more often “man up” and accept the consequences in non-criminal mistakes?  I think we as a society should be advocating for people to take greater responsibility for their lives.  Consequences aren’t pleasant.  Sometimes consequences are downright painful or life-changing, but does that mean people should be given a “pass”… because it might hurt?

I’ve done things I’m not proud of.  I’m betting that most of us have.  I’ve hurt people.  I’ve screwed up.  I’ve blamed people and places for problems of my own making.    In life, there are often no “do overs”.  (I sure am thankful for the few there are, though!)  But,  I’ve recently made a commitment to stop the blaming and take responsibility.  I’m trying to fix the wrongs I can and move forward.  At least for MY life, the buck now stops with me.

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  1. January 29, 2010 9:07 am

    I sure am glad that I have never hurt anyone or screwed up! 🙂 That realization sounds painful! All kidding aside, I am a real believer in personal responsibility. That said, I certainly AM NOT anywhere near perfect at it. But, I do make a conscious effort to be aware of it. I live by the old adage that “Your word is your bond”.

    A short illustrative story: My grandpa was an entrepeneur (what that really meant back then is he did anything it took to keep a roof over his family’s head and their bellies full, and he did that very well!) in a small town in southeastern Missouri from around 1920-1955. My dad says that quite a few times he saw grandpa walk into the bank and secure loans for several thousand dollars (which was big money back then!) with a simple handshake. Usually he would have the loan paid back within two weeks!

    Why did I tell this story? Because that is one of the results of personal responsibility! It is an almost forgotten thing called I-N-T-E-G-R-I-T-Y!

    Kelly, thank you so much for bringing this up.


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