Take A Bow – You’ve Earned It!

Good morning! I hope your day is off to a great start.

The other day, my daughter had an especially challenging day with her little ones. They’re 15 months apart, and the oldest is in kindergarten, so you can fill in the blanks. Some days one is good and the other makes up for it, and the next day they switch. But every now and then, they put their minds together in a seek and destroy mission on the sanity of any adult in the house.

Now, take that and put it on steroids, and that’s the kind of day she had. At one point, she just sat at the bottom of the stairs in tears. She’d had all she could handle. My granddaughter, sensing her anguish, went to her and in the sweetest voice said, “Mommy, we’ve decided we should apologize to you for him making me do that.” Folks, that’s about as good as it gets.

I raised two daughters, and the one thing I can tell you is they never do anything wrong, at least not on their own. It was always somebody else’s fault. As Erma Bombeck observed, when the kids are upstairs and things don’t seem right, ask the girls what they’re doing and they’ll say, “Nothing.” Ask the boys and it’s, “We just threw the cat down the stairs and it was neat!”

Don’t get me wrong. I love girls. I raised two, and I still have a mostly full head of hair. It’s gray, mind you … completely. But I wear that as a badge of honor. Still, with two grandsons, I can definitely see a difference. Boys are a little less emotional about getting into trouble. They’ll confess to just about anything. Unless they get into politics, and then all bets are off.

I think as a parent, one of the things I tried to instill in my daughters the most was a sense of accountability. Not responsibility – that just means you were supposed to do something, and you didn’t. But accountability means the buck stops here. It means I screwed up and I’ll take the heat for it. Nobody made me do it – I did it all on my own. Now, can I have my phone back?

Accountability also works the other way. It means, “I did the work. While everybody else was out playing, I made the sacrifices and I made this happen. I’ve earned the reward.” That’s a hard pill for most of us to swallow. It sounds self-indulgent, and nobody likes a showoff. If you blew it, we expect a detailed commentary ending in a formal apology. Otherwise, keep it to yourself.

And I think that’s why so many people have a problem with success. Oh, we love winning. We just have a problem with the entitlement that goes with it. “Well, things just worked out, I guess. It could have just as easily gone the other way. I just got lucky.” That last one is my personal favorite. It implies that you did nothing to influence the outcome – it just happened.

We expect accountability from our kids when they step out of line, and hopefully we’re leading by example. “Well, kids, we have to move. The bank is taking the house because I lost my job. It’s not my fault the boss can’t handle a little criticism. He needs to toughen up!”

Most of us do a better job than that. And I doubt we’d accept such an excuse from one of our kids. We need to teach them a sense of accountability. We need to instill a sense of humility as well. But we should also teach them that it’s okay to be proud of their accomplishments. And that begins by allowing ourselves to feel a little pride as well.

We’ll never work very hard to accomplish anything if it doesn’t give us some sense of fulfillment. To accomplish great things, you must first accept that you are deserving of great things. We can be gracious and proud at the same time. And it’s the combination of those two characteristics that will set a positive example for others as they also celebrate your success.

That’s all for now. Have an awesome day!

© 2020 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved