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Photo: Richard Hoffkins
When the twins turned 11 their parents decided to allow them to have a television in their bedroom. Benjamin and Aaron were excited, and even though they were only allowed 60 minutes of TV a day, they were grateful that their parents allowed this freedom. For a while everything was just fine, but as time went on their parents began to notice that at times the television would be left on, and there was no one in the room. One day their father passed the room door, and again saw the television on with no sign of Benjamin or Aaron. Getting sick of the rising electric bill and having had just about enough of the ungratefulness of his kids, father set out to find out who was leaving the TV on.

“Who left the television on in the bedroom?” he thundered. Both boys instantly quieted down, but no one claimed responsibility. He asked again "Who left the TV on?" "I left the room first" Aaron said “Benjamin was watching it".  He should’ve turned the TV off." “No-no-no,"” said Benjamin. “You turned the TV on Aaron”; you were supposed to turn it off before you left the room!”

When they got home from school the next day, they noticed that their television was missing. At first they thought the house had been robbed, but nothing else was missing. They searched everywhere.  “What happened to the TV?”,
they yelled running from room to room. When they got to the basement, they found their television, locked in a large cabinet with a glass face. On the TV was a note, which read—“waiting to be claimed by a responsible person”.

An Important Lesson

I think Benjamin and Aaron will be OK. Their parents are teaching them about responsibility early, but how about you? How good are you at taking responsibility for something? Not just for the good things, but for the bad things too. In this day and age taking responsibility for our actions has gone the way of the eagle; just about extinct. It seems scarce that people are encouraged to take responsibility for their behavior; some often look for something or someone else as the cause of what they did. It looks as if a new CEO or CFO is ousted in some type of shame every few weeks, but no one claims responsibility for the downward spiral of the company, there is always someone else to blame, and thus begins the great big game of pass the buck!

Taking responsibility for something is by no means an easy task, but owning up to a problem and not placing blame for it, is the first step in trying to correct it.

I don’t think responsibility gets the respect it deserves. It seems the only times people want to take responsibility is when something goes extremely well sometimes even if they had nothing to do with it, or some terrorist organization wants people to know just how big and bad they are. Is this what responsibility has boiled down to?

It’s time for us to start making a change, especially where teaching children about responsibility is concerned. The Bible says, “Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it” (Proverbs 22:6).

Make an effort everyday to take responsibility for what is yours, the good and the bad and everything in between. If we don’t teach our children about responsibility—who will? Be a positive example in someone’s life. We might not be able to influence the whole world at once, but we can try to influence those around us one at a time.

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By Maxine Young. Copyright © 2009 by GraceNotes. All rights reserved. Use of this material is subject to usage guidelines. Scripture taken from the NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION ®.

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