Written by Adebayo Akande
Our world is under siege! From the scourge of global warming, to the state of anarchy in the Middle East. From wildlife species facing extinction, to third world economies under siege. Many times one wonders and asks, ”How did we get here?”, others ask “What happened?” I think it is time we modified the latter question to “Who happened?”
Yes, who happened? Critical thinking would make us understand that most, if not all the challenges we are facing today are either man made or man potentiated. The ice caps didn’t just decide unanimously after a summit, to start melting. Economies didn’t make New Year resolutions to undergo apoptosis. No, someone somewhere did something somehow, and then someone else followed suit, then someone else, then someone else…
God created the earth, and handed it over to man. This conferred on man a duty to protect, preserve and populate. This was an obligation to carry forward an assigned task to a successful conclusion. By this, man can be held accountable for his actions and/or inactions. This, my friend, is the definition of responsibility.
It is easy and convenient to blame others for our misfortunes and then blame ourselves for our fortunes (that would qualify as praise, wouldn’t it). Many times we take actions, yet are unwilling to face the consequences of those actions/inactions. This blame game is as old as time itself. Remember this line, “it is the woman you gave me…?”
The earliest recollection of my first contact with the word “responsible” was that of two teenagers who had series of sexcapades that culminated in the damsel misplacing her period. The question “Who is responsible?” was asked so oft that one would think it was the name of a popular inventor!
I believe the greatest day in your life and mine is when we take total responsibility for our attitudes, actions, inactions. That is the day we truly grow up. You don’t drink yourself to stupor, get behind the wheels, run over an innocent pedestrian, and then blame the devil! We must also learn that we are leaders – whether of one, or of many, and your first follower is you!
A great man once said “With great power comes great responsibility”. Wait a minute, that was Uncle Ben from Spiderman, but you get the gist. We can say it thus “with great power, comes great duty, obligation to carry out tasks, for which we will be held accountable”.
So take the initiative at work. Get to work early, don’t try to “out-lazy” the lazy ones. They may call you stupid, but you know better. You understand responsibility. Before you dump refuse in drainage systems, think that when that area floods, it would be your fault. Before you drive a car with faulty brakes on the highway, think about the little boy that could be maimed, while buying candy by his school gate.
Also think about the family that would be able to train a pilot, the pregnant woman that would smile home with her precious baby, all because you did your work by paying workers their dues. Anyone who expects to be thanked for doing his job is not worthy of leadership.
And speaking of leadership, I end with this quote from one of the greats, John F. Kennedy “Let us not seek to fix the blame on the past. Let us accept our own responsibility for the future.”