Where does blame begin?

In the womb?

Women gets pregnant, put on extra weight, so the kid is to blame for that. The toddler misbehaves, is that because the parent isn’t strict enough or watching the kid? Maybe the kid is inquisitive. Their brain might be advancing quickly. So is the parent to blame by curtailing the kid’s curiosity? Maybe that kid will grow-up without motivation because the parent tried too hard to protect them from the world? Maybe that kid will try to do better by their children by letting them have more freedom. In turn, their kids become wild and reckless.

I don’t think this is what Elton John was thinking about when he sang about the Circle of Life. If it were, he’d have to add “Vicious” in front of that.

We live in a society where we try to avoid the blame for things as much as possible, even if some of the blame is ours. How many times have you heard about some rapist say he was abused as a child and that’s why he hates women or that’s why he raped some innocent girl.

Aw, poor guy eh? Course, that doesn’t help the poor woman or girl who was raped.

Of course, now that girl who was raped has an excuse to go out and do something terrible, if you’re to follow the irrational logic of it all. She can tell people that she stabbed her ex-boyfriend because she was raped as a little girl.

Aw, poor girl. Except for the guy who may have had a minor argument with her and got stabbed for his right to free speech.

I know there are psychiatrists who say that early childhood trauma can have long-lasting effects on people, well into their adult lives. I don’t dispute that. The scars from childhood never truly go away.

But how many people have had the same kind of things happen to them, yet they are well-adjusted, functioning people in our society? Ok, “well-adjusted” might be pushing it, but my point is, they aren’t going around killing people because their parent lied to them about what happened to their pet dog Scruffy.

In the end, we are responsible for our own actions. I’m not talking about people who have genuine psychological problems or chemical imbalances in their brains. I’m talking about the average Joe and Jane out there.

Didn’t get the attention of that cute girl in high school? Blame the “cool” guy. Messed up your college entrance exam? Blame you buddy for throwing that party. Crashed your car? Blame the bartender for giving you too many drinks. Didn’t get the job you wanted? Blame your parents for not making you a better person. Your kids are disrespecting you? Blame teachers for disrespecting  them, or video games, or Facebook, or texting, or their friends, or anything else you can think of!

It’s so easy to point fingers at everyone out there, but it’s much harder to point the finger back at yourself, or at the very least, re-examine how you deal with things, people and life in general.

Even if you can look at yourself and breakdown the reasoning behind your thoughts and actions, it takes a lot more effort to actually make any changes. It requires one to open their mind and, most importantly, put yourself in someone else’s shoes.

I often wonder how many people actually go by that old saying “Do onto others as you’d have done onto you.” I’m sure a lot of people do, at work, especially when dealing with a customer, sub-contractor, or client. What about when they aren’t being paid? If you’ve been out in the world, you probably know the answer to that. People cut you off in traffic. They ignore people who may need assistance. They don’t hold doors open. They don’t leave a tip.

It takes an effort to be thoughtful. Most don’t want to make the effort. They exist in their own little world and don’t care about anyone else. Sorta like teenagers.    

Speaking as a former teenager, I can remember how irritated I’d get if someone asked me to help them with something. I’m already sooo busy doing whatever it is I’m doing that for me to help you would upset the delicate balance of my world! And this was back before social media, high-def movies and video games, texting, and chatting! If I had those kind of distractions back then, I would have been a lil prick for even longer than I was!

(I’m sure any who know me and read this will think I’m still a bit of a prick. But my prickdom PALES compared to many of the kids today. Plus, I acknowledge that fact that I can be a prick. Knowing makes a big difference. But, I digress…)

This doesn’t make the kids who engage in these things bad kids. It just may take them a little longer to realize that other people exist and have feelings.

I count myself fortunate that the three teenagers I see on a regular basis are surprisingly well-balanced considering the hardship they’ve already had to face, and the fact they have access to all the toys and gadgets most teenagers could covet. Plus the fact that they are teenagers (puberty, hormones, social awkwardness, peer issues, the opposite sex, etc). They can be self-absorbed,  just like so many teens were before them. Just like I was.

So how can todays teens and adults break the vicious circle of life? I’m sure some will say religion. That may help some, but for those who wish to think for themselves, you just have to want it. You have to want to be a better person, to think of others and maybe put their welfare before your own, and try not to judge someone without understanding where they are coming from.

Yeah, easier said than done right? Well, nothing good or worthwhile ever came easy. Just imagine this…

What if everyone started stepping outside that vicious circle of life. They stopped blaming the past and took responsibility for their actions and words. They thought of others and weren’t so self-involved in their lives. I’m not talking about reversing human nature or making everyone a Stepford child.

But, what if…?

Maybe that vicious circle of life would lose some of the viciousness.

Cue Elton!

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