Our parenting series got me thinking and a recent barrage of irresponsible statements from people with great influence got me writing. You are welcome to contemplate this problematic cultural conundrum. Read on.
“I’m just a musician. I never wanted to be a role model. That responsibility lies with parents.”
“I’m just an athlete. I never asked to be a role model. That responsibility lies with parents.”
“I’m just a teacher at the school. I never claimed to be a role model. That responsibility lies with parents.”
Is anyone else tired of hearing that lame excuse for negligent behavior? So am I. I’m fed up.
I’m sick of it.
We spout this garbage presuming to guard our value of individual freedom. But this isn’t freedom, its license – comprehensive authorization to do anything we want, anywhere we like, with anyone we choose. Such lunacy absolves people of influence from the responsibility essential to it.
This release, so easy to say, excuses leaders of culpability. This simple statement, offered and accepted as transcendent truth, exempts the shapers of our society from their indispensable contribution to it.
Allowing this tripe to continue unchallenged is akin to accommodating cultural suicide.
Gain without cost, benefits expanded without exertion, profit with no skin in the game, all these precipitate tragedy and loss. Our underlying desire for sex without marriage, money without work, loyal friends (when we have not cultivated closeness, nor have we demonstrated our own fidelity) manifests itself in bad behavior. We ache with selfish ambition while despising the levels of accountability inherent to success.
We want young people to buy our music and tickets to our performances. We want them to swallow our opinions, beliefs and political orientations. We demand they accept our values and morals. Our imagined contract reads, “You give me adulation. Celebrate me and I will enjoy the license of unrestrained self-indulgence as part of the deal.” Do we think we owe nothing after we have gained so much?
Well, here is the truth.
If people are looking at us with admiration,
if others follow our lives with interest,
if people emulate our words or admire our ways,
if we influence anyone – then, whether we like it or not, we are responsible. We are accountable and we are liable. No more excuses. We don’t have an out.
Parents are responsible too; our Creator makes that clear. But as children navigate the waters of adolescence, the people who shape their emerging values, beliefs and opinions better step up and serve them well by living well. The success of every next generation depends on the responsible influence of their leaders and opinion-shapers.
So let’s stop whining about all the pressure we feel. Step up, my friend. Accept responsibility. Lead courageously and expect God to reward you. The next generation is watching and learning and they deserve more from us than excuses.