Your character goes a long way
While traveling around the Mediterranean Sea last year following the footsteps of the Apostle Paul on his missionary journeys, I learned some historical trivia about how the Roman’s took personal responsibility seriously.
Roman culture had a love of arches in the design of their cities. Many of those arches still stand today. There is a good reason for that.
After a Roman arch was finished, the designer and builder had to stand underneath the new arch when the scaffolding that supported it during construction was removed.
If those responsible for its design and construction had make mistakes, they were crushed when the arch collapsed.
That is why so many of those arches have survived from then until today.
It was the ultimate way of saying, “You are responsible for your actions and your fate.”
Many young people have just graduated from high school and find that they have to make choices about their futures that will affect the rest of their lives.
Some will go to college, some will go to trade school, some will go to work and a few will see dealing illegal drugs as a quick way to make a lot of tax-free money. That last group will eventually get killed or end up serving a life sentence on the installment plan.
Ignoring this last group, some will wish to avoid personal responsibly and say that things beyond their control ruined their lives
I did not get admitted to Harvard or Yale after I graduated from high school. I am going to take personal responsibility for that.
I can’t blame the idea that my parents weren’t rich enough to send me to these two institutions of higher learning. The real reason I didn’t get in was simple — I never applied. That means I never had a chance to get in.
Here is an important life lesson: If you never try, you can never succeed. Failure is automatic.
I did graduate from college. As part of the process, I had a mentor who taught me and a handful of other ROTC students many important lessons about life that you can’t get from a book.
He believed there were two kinds of people. There are those who attribute the events and conditions of their lives to forces external to themselves such as luck, chance, fate or powerful people liking or disliking them.
Those folks believe how their life plays out isn’t their fault because they are victims.
My mentor taught me that bad things happen to everybody at some point. People can’t control that. However, everybody can control how they react.
This second type of person believes he or she has a say in the outcome of life. When bad things happen, they adapt and overcome.
This is a choice. In the short term, it is the most difficult choice.
My mentor taught me this important life lesson: Some people decide to be empowered, and others enjoy feeling powerless because they don’t have to take any responsibility. It is easy to give up when the going gets rough
The first kind of people I mentioned never built any arches in Rome.
In today’s “toxic masculinity” culture, taking responsibility for your actions and reactions to adversary is out of style. It is so much easier to say “it’s not my fault” and “life isn’t fair.”
If you got some guarantee at birth that life would be fair, take it back to who ever gave it to you and demand a refund.
I went to high school with the son of a local doctor — in fact he was my doctor. This friend’s father was killed in a plane crash.
He could have been a victim of his circumstances. Nobody would have blamed him if he had not turned out well.
He took responsibility for how he reacted to this tragedy and went to medical school. He worked hard and today he is a well-respected physician in Benton.
Here is a final important life lesson: The difference between taking personal responsibility or being irresponsible shows your character.
Good character helps you build the trust of others needed for success. Character helps you do better in life because leaders with good character and morals motivate their followers/employees.
So those of you who just graduated need to understand this: It is your life. Build an arch you are proud to stand under.