Virtues – Something about responsibility
The responsible person assumes the consequences of his deliberate acts, of the outcome of the decisions he takes or accepts and also of his nondeliberate acts, in such a way that the others benefit the most, or at least do not get detriment, taking care, at the same time, that other people he may influence do the same.
Young people talk a lot about freedom and very little about responsibility. But before we focus in the education of this virtue it would perhaps be convenient to consider why. To be responsible implies to assume the consequences of the own acts and, in principle, it seems that the young people, to whom we called irresponsible, are willing to do so. Indeed, they use to assume the consequences of their actions in the sense of bearing the critics of their parents, of leaving the convenience of a comfortable life, etc. Nevertheless, responsibility does not means only to answer before oneself. Responsibility means to respond, to give answer to the call of the other. That which requests an answer could be the conscience, or the ‘you’ of a peer, the ‘we’ of the society, and in ultimately superior term, God. But, to be able to respond, it is precise to have learned to hear and to listen.
The same words to hear and to obey are related etymologically (in Latin: obedire and audire; obedire implies the idea of a person who follows another one, that walks next to him to hear (audire) what he says and to be able to serve him). This is what bothers the teenager. To be responsible means to have to render accounts, not only to bear the consequences of the own action.
Nowadays fashion leads the young people to want to perform their lives outside all commitment, to live to have fun, and when a person begins to consider himself as his own king, he stops being responsible. To be responsible means to obey: to obey the own conscience, to obey the authorities, to obey God, knowing that that obedience is not about a passive act, of a slave, but an act of commitment, of duty.
The reasons for being responsible will be different according to the situation in which arises the need to respond. However, we could consider an example to see these differences.
Which would be the main reason or reasons for a kid of seven years to study responsibly in the school?:
a) Because he enjoys the subject.
b) Because he is interested in the work itself.
c) Because the teacher points out with clarity the subject and the assignments that he must do.
But I repeat, these are reasons for a well done work, not necessarily for a responsible work. For it to be a responsible work, the student must be aware of his obligation or duty of responding before someone. The responsible devotee that recognizes that the work is a way of personal sanctification can make an effort because of the love to God, and because of duty. The children have many reasons for being responsible; thinking about the parents, it would be necessary to emphasize that their main mission to obtain the development of this virtue on their children is the one of appropriately exercise their authority.
The development of the virtue of responsibility implies not only that the children learn to take responsibility of the decisions of others, but also that they learn to make personal decisions. One thing is to fulfill and another thing is to fulfill well.
The final intention in agreement with the established rules is not limited by the rules that express a minimum.
One must not resort to excuses to justify the non-completion of some indication and the tendency of not committing oneself to any subject, or until it seems that it will come out well. The person needs strength to develop responsibility.
We must make our decisions with responsibility to have the capacity of directing our lives more or less in a satisfactory way.
We must be sincere with ourselves to achieve the happiness that lead us to achieve our more fond dreams and our supreme goal by means of effort and responsibility.
In a human level, we have all the responsibility towards the others.
Of course it is necessary to respect the other, but respect means exactly to wake up on them the responsibility and demand it within the friendship relation that may exist.
The responsible person assumes the consequences of his own acts, deliberate or not, and also the responsibility of what he is, that is, a son of God.
A. & A.