Sunday, April 26, 2009

The Blame Game

We are taught you must blame your father, your sisters, your brothers, the school, the teachers - you can blame anyone but never blame yourself. It's never your fault. But it's always your fault, because if you wanted to change, you're the one who has got to change. It's as simple as that, isn't it?
Katharine Hepburn

This afternoon I ventured to the woods to take a walk, and something made me change my mind. I turned around and headed for a wooded lot my mom owns. Here I have a hosta garden, and I knew that it needed tending. As I pulled up, I noticed bikes at the edge of a path. The neighborhood kids were probably building their fort made up of scrapes they had uncovered in the neighborhood.

My family doesn't mind the kids. For boys, and some girls, what is more fun than building a fort in the middle of the woods? We do have rules that I have explained to them in the years past. No climbing trees, pick up your garbage, and keep my garden safe.

As I got out of my car, I noticed smoke. The fort window (scrap plastic) was turning brown. Fire! The kids were huddled around the fort, and were trying to put out the fire so I didn't see it. They threw bricks on it, and covered it with plastic, only causing more smoke. With all the dead wood around, I nicely scolded the kids, and told them to run for a big bucket of water. In the meantime, I removed the plastic and bricks, and tried to put out the fire with my glass of soda. It only caused more smoke.

I yelled to the kids to hurry, and they started walking back with their mother. As they approached, I told them that I wanted the lighter or matches. What I am about to describe is a mother hen defending her chicks. I explained that the kids had started a fire, and asked the children again for the lighter or matches. She started saying that this is vacant property. (What does that have to do with a fire?) I told her that my mom owned it, and we didn't mind the kids playing on the property as long as they followed the rules. She kept insisting that it's vacant, that someone from our city had told her that it was an easement. I explained it was not, and asked the kids to go get another bucket of water since the fire was still smoking.

I again told her that they had rules, like no garbage and no climbing trees, and I had explained the rules to them in the prior years. She said that her kids didn't start the fire, the other boy with them had. She also said that her daughter had picked up garbage, and she had told her not to fill up her garbage can with this garbage. The kids came back with the other bucket, and I finished extinguishing the fire.

She was protecting her children for something that they did wrong, whether they did it themselves or watched as someone else light the fire. Later, I turned it positive by asking the children to make a sign, listing all the rules. Next time they see my vehicle, we would wrap it in plastic and hang it by the entrance. The parents stood in their yard, looking at me, not knowing how to respond. The kids responded with glee, saying they would have a sign for me when I returned.

This encounter made me think. We are so quick to put the blame somewhere else, instead of taking responsibility for our own actions. How many times have we found someone else to blame for our poor or bad actions? If this person did or didn't do that or say that, we would have not responded in the negative way we had. Wrong. We are responsible for ourselves (and the children God gave us).

When I was growing up, no one let me get away with anything. If I did wrong, the teacher or friend's parent corrected me right there and then, and I got it again when my parents found out. To top it off, they thanked the one who had first corrected me. I'm not that old, but, lately, I find more and more people blaming others for their wrongdoings.

We also watch someone else do wrong, without trying to stop them. Okay, I do agree that we cannot control another's actions, but doesn't God say that we are to tell them, with love? If they chose not to listen, at least we know in our heart that we had tried. Growing up, I usually got the same punishment as my sibling because I knew what they were doing was wrong.

When you go to blame someone else, when you make excuses for your actions based on someone else, think. You alone can react the way you do - there is no one else around that can make you react a certain way. You are in control of your own actions. If someone did hurt you, turn it around into something positive.

I wonder why she didn't thank me for seeing a fire, and responding to it. With the wind and all the dried wood, her children could have been hurt. I stepped in, by chance, and stopped something tragic from happening. Who do I have to thank today for stopping me from making a mistake? Or do I get defensive, and turn it around, putting blame on someone else? Think about it.

Aunt Janet's Famous Sayings

I have told this to each one of my nieces and nephews. At first, they say "Right, Aunt Janet." Later, they are amazed at how I found something out, or how I just ended up being someplace to stop them from making a mistake. For example, my youngest nephew was amazed when I found him in a dumpster behind the Parish Hall. How in the heck did I know he was there? For some reason, I had missed my friend's driveway, and I turned around in the parking lot behind the Parish Hall, and there he was, knee deep in garbage, looking for copper. I got him out of the dumpster, and, being a good aunt, called his dad.

What do I say to them? "I have ears and eyes all over town. Whatever you do, I will eventually find out." From experience, they know that it happens.

Free Stuff

Free Sample of Carmex Chapstick
Free sample of Emergen-C® Health & Energy Water 1000
Free Sample of Always and Tampax(r) tampons and liners

Money Savings Tip

Being short on funds, this week I went through my freezer and pantry to decide what to make for dinner. I came up with enough meals to last us a week, and we only have to buy a few items. Yeah!!

What's in your freezer today? How many meals can you make without making a trip to the store? Sometimes it helps to investigate.

Aunt Janet

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