Saturday, July 17, 2010

Take responsibility for your actions

Hey, we all mess around, right?  I mean, come on, admit it.  You can't?  That just makes it worse. 

So, when we were kids (oh look, I turned into my dad), we were told to tell the truth. We would be advised that if we told the truth that we wouldn't get into as much trouble as if we didn't fess up and were caught.  Heck, our legal system ended up being built on this principle.  Unfortunately, we learn that as long as we don't get caught, then it's alright.  OK, I'm not going to really argue with that.  I mean, I've done it.  I know that when I get caught, my gut reaction is to lie.  Heck, who wants to get busted?  Do we really believe what our parents said?  Since there's the possibility that you won't get in trouble when something goes wrong, why confess, right?  How are you to know if the punishment might really be more lenient.  It's not like you can see the future and know both possible outcomes. 

There's the moral dilemma we all face every time we do something.  Heck, often times you might do something wrong without intent.  That happens to me even when I am thinking, "hey, this would be nice", but didn't think the situation all the way through. 

So, it goes wrong.  I now have three choices, tell the truth (maybe leaving out some incriminating details),  tell the whole truth, or tell nothing OF the truth, in other words, LIE.  Now we may sugar cote it by saying that it was a little white lie, or maybe we get angry right off the bat.  The second one happens often when there was no intention of an offense.  No matter what, we must live with the consequences. 

So, why am I rambling on about this?  A friend of mine has suffered because of his/her actions.  Something that had started out as a mild prank, escalated into life altering situation.  No, there was no physical injury or anything, but this person had to make changes that weren't planned.  If my friend had made different decisions when the offending party first confronted him/her, then the situation would likely have panned out differently.  However, it sounds as if the initial gut reaction wasn't the whole truth.

What would you do?  Heck, I don't know what I would do.  Well, first of all, I wouldn't have done that prank.  Not that I wouldn't do any prank, I'm guilty as ever there.  But if I had been put in that situation, that the prank was offensive enough to have me be confronted, what would I do?  Heck, I don't know.  I would hope that I would tell the truth, but in that situation, I can't say that I would.  However, since there were witnesses, I might have told the truth so as not to get ratted out and face the wrath of not only the initial offense, but the secondary offense of lying.  You lose trust, and that's something that is hard to repair. 

Even if you tell the truth, then what?  Well, you have to face the consequences, after offering your apology.  Sure, you know that.  That was drummed into our heads as children.  But the admission of wrongdoing is especially hard when you know that forgiveness isn't the first thing forthcoming, but punishment is.  The fact is, we're only human.  What I mean by that is that our animalistic self-preservation kicks in, as opposed to our masochistic "bring it on" attitude.

So, after all that, what is my advice on taking responsibility for your actions?  This is the best that I can come up with:  Even though honesty is the best policy, insanity is the best defense.