Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Isn't It Amazing How Much Power "He," "She" And "They" Have?

If I had a dollar for every time I asked a child why he/she did what he/she did and the first words out of his/her mouth was “He,” “She,” or “They,” I could retire happily as a millionaire. It is absolutely amazing how the word “I” almost never precedes the reason for an action being taken. The reason for this edition of The Critical Thinker is this whole notion of accountability. There are very few of us who are willing to take accountability for our actions. Working with children every day, I consistently hear the he, she, they mantra. Why did you hit her? She hit me? It’s never, “I made the decision to hit her, even though I had other choices such as to not hit back or tell an adult who could help me.” It’s always She……… He………They……….

To make matters worse, the adults are not much better. In the event that I have to suspend a child from school because of some infraction and the parent is called, the first question out their mouths is “How many days did the OTHER child get?” Again, taking no responsibility for what his/her child did. How many days did the other child get? What does that matter to them? What about how many days did my child get and how can we make sure that he or she does not do that again?

When we look and listen to the news, we see daily folks who do not take responsibility for their actions. According to, Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal, faced with allegations that he misled voters about his military service during the Vietnam War, acknowledged that he has "misspoken" about his record but described those instances as few and far between.

The New York Times reported that Blumenthal, the front-running candidate for U.S. Senate in his state, has on several occasions suggested -- and in at least one instance, flat-out claimed -- that he served in Vietnam even though he did not.

"On a few occasions, I have misspoken about my service and I regret that and I take full responsibility," Blumenthal said but he described those remarks as "absolutely unintentional," and said the mistake has only happened a few times out of "hundreds" of addresses he's given. What is “misspoken?” Why did you say that? Oh I misspoke. How about I made a decision to distort my military service to make myself look better than I thought I actually looked when I described what I actually did during the Vietnam War?

We will never truly become what we can become until we hold ourselves and others accountable for our actions. We cannot keep blaming "he," "she" and "they." We must look in the mirror and be willing to begin our explanations with “I.” This is not about perfection, however, it is about the ability to make a decision good or bad and stand by it. It is also about being able to connect decisions with consequences or outcomes. As long as we start our explanations with he, she and they, the connection between our decisions and our consequences will always have a short circuit. Something to critically think about and as always I welcome your commentary in the comment section of the blog.

1 comment:

Denrique said...

Sounds like a Naomi Campbell move, He, She and They. Folks seem to think that they are the victims when they do wrong (Naomi, for one). If folks really start taking accountability for their actions the U.S. Senate, for one, might pack it in.