Friday, June 18, 2010


“Do all things without grumbling or disputing” - Phil. 2:14

Taking responsibility isn't very popular these days. In this high achieving, “fight to get ahead” world we live in, admitting fault is difficult. We all want to be perfect or at least make others think we’re perfect!

But in reality, the most secure people are those who are willing to admit mistakes, learn from them and move on. When I blame others for my mistakes, I learn nothing from the episode accept how to manipulate and blame. As parents, we need to be sure and teach our kids to own their mistakes and take responsibility.

This reminds me of the Andy Griffith episode about a young man learning to take responsibility for his own actions. The young man’s dad was a very powerful politician in the state of North Carolina and had bailed him out of every poor decision he had ever made. He got in an accident in Mayberry and was arrested by Sheriff Taylor for hit-and-run. While arrested he went fishing with Andy and Opie, had Sunday dinner with them etc… While with the Taylor’s, Andy made Opie pay for a window he broke while playing baseball. The young man thought Andy was being too hard on Opie but Andy told him, “Opie has to learn to pay for broken windows and stand on his own two feet.”

At the end of the episode, the politician’s lawyer coerces the person the young man hit in order to get the young man out of jail. The young man decides to stay in jail and finish his sentence saying “tell my Dad I broke a window and have to stand on my own two feet.” It’s just another classic and so well written. The young man learned to take responsibility.
A few weeks ago Jim Joyce made a mistake. Joyce happened to be working first base Wednesday night in Detroit for the game between the Tigers and the Indians when infamy “did not just tap him on the shoulder, it slapped him upside the head.” Tigers pitcher Armando Galarraga had just thrown the 21st perfect game in baseball history, and a ridiculous third perfecto inside of four weeks, when first baseman Miguel Cabrera threw to him covering first base on a grounder by Jason Donald for the 27th out. Cabrera celebrated. Only one thing was missing. Jim Joyce called Donald safe. Upon seeing a replay, Joyce was crushed."I just cost that kid a perfect game," the umpired admitted afterward. "I thought he beat the throw. I was convinced he beat the throw, until I saw the replay." It was a classy move by Joyce, who also apologized to Galarraga personally. The pitcher told a Venezuelan reporter that Joyce was crying when he offered him his apology. “He really feel bad. He probably feel more bad than me," Galarraga told Fox Sports Detroit. "Nobody's perfect, everybody's human. I understand. I give a lot of credit to the guy saying, “Hey, I need to talk to you because I really say I'm sorry.” That don't happen. You don't see an umpire after the game say 'I'm sorry.'"

Yankees closer Mariano Rivera, after seeing a replay of the call Wednesday night at Yankee Stadium, said of about Joyce, "It happened to the best umpire we have in our game. The best. And a perfect gentleman. Obviously, it was a mistake. It was a perfect game. It's a shame for both of them, for the pitcher and for the umpire. But I'm telling you he is the best baseball has, and a great guy. It's just a shame."

So parents, go ahead and make your mistake. Mistakes are going to happen and the kids will be watching. We all hate to mess up, but when you do, admit it. Better yet, grab it and own it. When you do, your child’s eyes will be watching and learning.

Then, when you have the accident or miss the call, your peers and children will remember who you are, not the mistake you made. And they’ll learn to be responsible.

By Eric Joseph Staples ©

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