In my Language Arts class at school, I was recently introduced to a new and controversial topic: Personal Responsibility. After reading many articles, and discussing different ideas with classmates, I have come to believe that personal responsibility is something that shouldnt be taken lightly.
I dont think that there is a definition of personal responsibility that is set in stone, but to me, personal responsibility is having responsibility for your actions, and not blaming your problems on someone else.
Take this example for instance. Say it was my turn to walk the dog, but I didnt. When my mom checks to make sure that I walked him, I say It wasnt my turn! even if I knew it was.
In this situation, I was trying to get around my responsibility, which wasnt a very responsible thing to do. And any kid knows that when you dont do what youre told, there can be consequences. So, in a kids world, personal responsibility can be very important.
On a more serious note, there is one instance of personal responsibility that is very important (and very interesting to debate) to me. This would be the argument of whether the government or oneself is responsible for ones own weight.
One argument I've heard supporting the idea that government is to blame for our increasing waistlines is that the government doesnt spend nearly enough money on campaigns to influence people to eat better and exercise more. Some think that there should be fewer commercials on the television, and less billboard ads trying to convince you to eat fast food. People also sharing this standpoint think that the government needs to take a more direct approach to making sure people are living healthy lifestyles. They believe that you cant just show people a picture and say some words, and everyone will suddenly become perfectly healthy.
If there is to be progress, the government needs to actually step in and do something such as making sure people are going to the doctor routinely, so that one can be told by a physician what the terrible repercussions of not taking care of oneself are. They say, Who is a politician to tell someone how to live a healthy life? When a doctor can tell you that you may have health implications because of your weight, and can possibly die early, then you will listen.
On the other hand, someone can also say that the individual is responsible for their weight problems. After all, who is the person putting the food down your own throat? No one is force feeding anything into your stomach! You may be influenced by the industry, but if youve gone through health class, then youve already been taught how to live a healthy life and should be able to ignore the ads that are seen regularly.
And if you think that its also the food industrys fault for making you fat with their good tasting and cheap foods, you must also consider most fast food restaurants also serve fruits and vegetables. In fact, you often see side salads on the dollar menu at several venues. If you are actively making the choice to consume fatty foods then it is your fault for the actions aftermath.
Either way you think about this topic, it all comes down to personal responsibility: blame yourself or blame someone (or something) else. But if the answer is that you should blame yourself, you need to take more responsibility for your actions so you wont make the same mistake twice.
Personal responsibility isnt only seen in the Blame the individual or blame the food company debate but is seen often in everyday life. You should take personal responsibility for doing your chores, taking care of pets, and doing well in school among other things. When you get older, personal responsibility becomes even more important, because your duties become more important, such as supporting yourself in order to live a healthy and comfortable life.
But in whatever you do, whether its as trivial as making your lunch, or as important as passing your HSAs, take some responsibility for its outcome because personal responsibility equals responsibility from others.
Ariana Sadoughi writes a monthly column for fredericknewspost.com.