The Mantle of Responsibility
Imagine that you’re at a party, having a good time. You’ve had way more to drink than you can handle and it’s time to leave. You hop in your car, pull out of the driveway, and promptly wrap your car around a telephone pole at 50 miles an hour. Angrily, yet unhurt, you exit your totaled car and proceed to harass the owner of the house in front of which you crashed. The police arrive and you state that you want to file charges against the homeowner for having a telephone pole in his yard. You insist the crash is somehow his fault and that he should have to pay for your totaled car.
Whose fault is the accident? Well, obviously it’s the driver’s fault. After all, you are the one who decided to drive intoxicated on the sidewalk while going twice the speed limit.
If this type of situation happened in real life, no one would take the driver’s complaints seriously. You would have been arrested on the spot, and the poor homeowner most likely would have filed charges against you for harassment. But here’s the crazy part: This type of thing actually does happen. Every. Single. Day.
What do I mean? I mean that every action has a consequence. If I punch your teeth out, I’m going to be arrested and most likely end up in jail. If I set myself on fire, I’m going to die. If you try to swim across the pool after strapping rocks onto yourself, you aren’t going to float. You get the idea. Every time you make a decision, there is an inevitable consequence—sometimes a good one, sometimes a bad one. But lately, children have been growing up believing that they should not be responsible for their own actions. We live in a society that teaches us we don’t need to worry about the consequences because someone else will take care of them.
Do you find this hard to believe? Take a look at this story of two young women who sued McDonald’s for “making” them obese. These two girls ate greasy meals at McDonald’s twice a day, every single day. They did not change their eating habits until they began to suffer health problems related to obesity. But instead of taking responsibility for their actions, they chose to blame McDonald’s! It’s not as if these young women didn’t know that eating fattening foods would make them gain weight. The fact is that they did not want to take responsibility for their actions as long as there was the chance they could get someone else to pay for their mistakes. Thankfully the court did not accept these young women’s argument, and dismissed their case.
So what do we do about this problem? I’d like to introduce you to a philosophy I call “The Mantle of Responsibility.” A mantle can be one of two things: It is both something that supports whatever is above it and an important responsibility that passes from one person to another. In this case, we are the mantle, and we carry the weight of the future on our shoulders. The important responsibility passed from your parents to you is the obligation to leave the world a better place than how you found it. Every decision you make will impact the future in a way you cannot possibly predict. This is why it is so important for you to own your decisions and handle all of your problems yourself. This doesn’t mean you can’t ask for help, but you should never abandon your problems or leave them for another to solve.
Your obligation to the world is something you cannot escape. Part of this obligation is the responsibility to protect the weak, take care of the less fortunate, stand up for the truth, and defend life no matter the cost. That is the Mantle of Responsibility. Make all decisions with careful forethought, own your actions, and stand up for what’s right. Or if you prefer to think like this: The Mantle is a duty to create a better tomorrow.
Reflect back on the example of the car accident. What if I told you something similar to that actually did happen? A few years ago the government passed some laws that required businesses to pay for their employee’s birth control. This caused an uproar because many companies felt they should not have to pay for this. Here is the problem with this situation: Your company is NOT responsible for your actions. The politicians and activists who supported these laws are like the person who crashed his car into the telephone pole who now wants someone else to take responsibility for that decision. People want the ability to be sexually active without accepting the natural consequences of that action—the procreation of new life. Instead, they want their employers to be responsible for paying for their birth control so that they don’t have to worry about it all.
These people have chosen to shirk their responsibilities. By denying the consequences of their actions, they are denying the creation of life—and in many cases rejecting the sacred bonds of marriage. You and I cannot change the way other people behave. But by embracing this notion of The Mantle, you can ensure that you will always be part of the solution rather than part of the problem.