The Best Lesson I Ever Learned


I recall my father pushing me to take risks constantly when I was a kid.

In one of my previous posts, I elaborated on how he’s one of the reasons I have continued my studies in writing. Back in high school, I was too scared to participate in class, which took a toll on my grades. My father assured me there was no reason to be embarrassed; no idea or suggestion I had was dumb or stupid, and ANY question is a GOOD question.

Besides encouraging me to step up to the plate in my academic studies, my father taught me the greatest lesson:

Taking Responsibility

When I acted out as a young child – said something rude, acted inappropriately – my dad always made sure I knew what I did was wrong but also that I understood.

In elementary school one year, my school took a boat trip for the day. My parents and a few others were chaperoning. One of the mom’s had brought a cooler filled with drinks for her kids. Earlier in the day she had offered me lemonade. Being an entitled six year old, I assumed I deserved all the contents in the cooler. Without asking, I rummaged through the cooler and took what I pleased.

On the ride home, my parents had confronted my actions. It wasn’t until my dad sat down with me, one-on-one, that I had realized I was being selfish and unfair. To make me understand my dad made me write and illustrate a story about my poor choices. I remember poorly drawing myself taking lemonade on the lined paper. After I finished the storyboard, my dad had me present it to him and then explain why it was wrong and why I won’t do it again.

Now – I haven’t made my dad a storybook apology since the fourth grade, but it taught me a wonderful lesson that I still live by.

At twenty years old, my last concern is how much lemonade I am drinking; my main focus is doing well in school and surrounding myself with supportive friends.

If I am not doing well in a subject… It’s not the professor’s problem, it’s mine!

If a friend of mine is treating me poorly… That’s on me too!

It’s so easy to blame the other person, but at the end of the day, I put myself in a tricky situation and I initiated a bad behavior.

At age six I hated taking responsibility; being twenty doesn’t make any difference.

I made a bad decision; I don’t want to come clean, but it’s the best thing to do.

When you take responsibility, you’ll be the first to let go and move on.

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