Choice and Timid Souls

Having choice seems to be something battered around a great deal throughout this pandemic. Whether one ‘should’ get vaccinated must be a choice. The choice to wear a mask is argues strongly for by anti-maskers. Now that many governments are implementing vaccine passport systems there is another rallying cry about ones freedoms being infringed upon.

What is not getting much airplay is one’s responsibilities.

Since the dawn of time, people have understood the value of being in a tribe or community. To live completely alone and in isolation was far more dangerous than to be a part of a community, after all you have to close your eyes and sleep at some point. We know that man does not survive more than a few days without sleep and sleep made one very vulnerable to predators. There is a popular quote about it taking a village to raise a child. Certainly without a partner one would not have a child to raise. Even a child borne from a one time event would not fair well without more than the mother to nurture them. A family ensures we are not alone.

As our species developed, we came to recognize that more families working together meant protecting each other, raising barns together as a community. Supporting each other when going through difficulty, trading with each other gave everyone more. With the birth of these types of relationships came responsibility — the responsibility to each other. The eldest daughter often being responsible for the parents as they became old and less able to care for themselves. Men responsible for feeding and protecting the family and women responsible for the cooking and child rearing.

Now in the 21st century we have progressed to pushing off the responsibility of child rearing to the government funded education system we fund with our taxes. We have pushed off protecting the family to police and RCMP or state troopers and National Guard. We can take seemingly ridiculous risks and be assured that search and rescue will come to our aid even at the peril of their own lives. Our parents are moved into old age homes so we no longer bear the burden of care for them in their old age. We believe we have evolved.

We have found many ways to remove ourselves from personal responsibility.

We blame. As a society we choose to blame others for what we dislike. Hurricane Juan swept over Sambro and Halifax in September 2003 and the government didn’t tell the public it would be as bad as it was. It was government’s fault people were unprepared. A climber in a gym forgets to clip into the auto belay and it is the gym’s fault for not having practices in place that would prevent that from happening. Parents die in old age homes and again government is to blame. Potholes in the roads in spring and government isn’t caring for the roads. Taxes going up — it’s because government pay themselves too much. A gunman starts shooting people and eludes the police for hours while covering a distance of hundreds of miles and the police are to blame.

Blaming and deflecting our personal responsibility has become the knee-jerk reaction. We do not own the responsibility to protect ourselves or each other anymore. We hand over the responsibility to government and then we expect the government, governing millions to somehow take care of our individual unique concern. We do not ask ourselves what is my responsibility in not being prepared for a hurricane, for aging parents, for my children. It is not Amazon’s fault people are using their service. It’s not facebooks fault that people use the service to bully others. It’s not social media’s job to protect your child’s mental health.

Our health and well being is our job. Our responsibility. Where in the world did we get the idea that we should not suffer financial loss during a global pandemic?!?! Take a moment to consider that thought. Of course we are all impacted by a global pandemic and of course we all have to make sacrifices to protect ourselves AND each other. Does this mean the government should be giving us support even if we do not financially really need it? Because in the end, we will all experience a tax increase to pay for the debt created by the pandemic.

Remember that old saying… “do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” What happened to accepting the responsibility of living that way? You can have all the free will you want AND you also have all the responsibility that comes with your choices. Don’t we expect children to demonstrate their ability to be responsible before we give them freedom. At least when I was growing up, that is how it was done. But then when I was growing up we also sang O Canada at school every day to remind us of our responsibility to something bigger than ourselves. Now students do not even have to be responsible for getting homework done because they pass anyway.

Here is the real loss…

Without responsibility for our actions, we can never feel like we have been successful. Responsibility is the arena in the Man in the Arena quote.

One must be willing to be responsible for something… a child, a family, students, a community, for there to be a cause worth fighting for.

As a community, we have become timid souls, unwilling to accept responsibility for our attitude, our growth, our choices and our selves. If you don’t want to get vaccinated, great — accept your responsibility for the choice. If you do want to get vaccinated — great again — accept what that responsibility means. There is no wrong choice, only a wrong attitude. Being a part of a community means acceptance of all within the community — assuming they are doing the best they can AND finding a way to live together in peace.

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