I love this BYU Speech given by Lynn G Robbins. My son recommended it to me. It is on their list of most viewed speeches. I think this is one of the most valuable things we can teach our children, and to be aware of ourselves.
Elder Robbins has a list of 19 irresponsible actions we can take that are on his “Anti-Responsibility” List.
1. Blaming others: Saul disobediently took of the spoils of war from the Amalekites; then, when confronted by Samuel, he blamed the people (see 1 Samuel 15:21).
2. Rationalizing or justifying: Saul then rationalized or justified his disobedience, stating that the saved livestock was for “sacrifice unto the Lord” (1Samuel 15:21; see also verse 22).
3. Making excuses: Excuses come in a thousand varieties, such as this one from Laman and Lemuel: “How is it possible that the Lord will deliver Laban into our hands? Behold, he is a mighty man, and he can command fifty, yea, even he can slay fifty; then why not us?” (1 Nephi 3:31).
4. Minimalizing or trivializing sin: This is exactly what Nehor advocated (see Alma 1:3–4).
5. Hiding: This is a common avoidance technique. It is a tactic Satan used with Adam and Eve after they partook of the forbidden fruit (see Moses 4:14).
6. Covering up: Closely associated with hiding is covering up, which David attempted to do to conceal his affair with Bathsheba (see 2 Samuel 12:9, 12).
7. Fleeing from responsibility: This is something Jonah tried to do (see Jonah 1:3).
8. Abandoning responsibility: Similar to fleeing is abandoning responsibility. One example is when Corianton forsook his ministry in pursuit of the harlot Isabel (see Alma 39:3).
9. Denying or lying: “And Saul said . . . : I have performed the commandment of the Lord. And Samuel said, What meaneth then this bleating of the sheep in mine ears . . . ?” (1 Samuel 15:13–14).
10. Rebelling: Samuel then rebuked Saul “for rebellion.” “Because thou hast rejected the word of the Lord, he hath also rejected thee from being king” (1 Samuel 15:23).
11. Complaining and murmuring: One who rebels also complains and murmurs: “And all the children of Israel murmured against Moses and . . . said . . . , Would God that we had died in the land of Egypt!” (Numbers 14:2).
12. Finding fault and getting angry: These two are closely associated, as described by Nephi: “And it came to pass that Laman was angry with me, and also with my father; and also was Lemuel” (1 Nephi 3:28).
13. Making demands and entitlements: “We will not that our younger brother shall be a ruler over us. And it came to pass that Laman and Lemuel did take me and bind me with cords, and they did treat me with much harshness” (1 Nephi 18:10–11).
14. Doubting, losing hope, giving up, and quitting: “Our brother is a fool. . . . For they did not believe that I could build a ship” (1 Nephi 17:17–18).
15. Indulging in self-pity and a victim mentality: “Behold, these many years we have suffered in the wilderness, which time we might have enjoyed our possessions and the land of our inheritance; yea, and we might have been happy” (1 Nephi 17:21).
16. Being indecisive or being in a spiritual stupor: The irony with indecision is that if you don’t make a decision in time, time will make a decision for you.
17. Procrastinating: A twin of indecision is procrastination. “But behold, your days of probation are past; ye have procrastinated the day of your salvation until it is everlastingly too late” (Helaman 13:38).
18. Allowing fear to rule: This one is also related to hiding: “And I was afraid, and went and hid thy talent in the earth. . . . His lord answered and said unto him, Thou wicked and slothful servant” (Matthew 25:25–26).
19. Enabling: An example of enabling or helping others to avoid responsibility is the instance when Eli failed to discipline his sons for their grievous sins and was rebuked by the Lord: “Wherefore kick ye at my sacrifice and . . . honourest thy sons above me . . . ? (1 Samuel 2:29; see also verses 22–36).
We have a few rentals that we rent out to students. One young man in particular keeps calling to have his drains snaked. On the third time I said, “I have offered this as a service, but this is the third time in 6 months. From now on you are going to have to pay for your own drain clearing.” My maintenance man confirmed the disposal was jammed with potato peels one time, and pasta another. This tenant was not happy with me. He sent me a text, “Just because I am young, and I grew up in a newer house that doesn’t have 70 year old pipes” to justify his behavior.
As I thought about this situation, I realized after the first time, it was my responsibility to teach him how to not jam a disposal. In my limited experience I haven’t run into this situation of multiple jammings before. Clearing drains doesn’t happen very often. That would have taken care of the second and third time he called me. He also was refusing to take responsibility, wanting me to keep paying for his dumping whatever he wanted down his sink. This situation could be #2-Rationalizing or justifying, #4- Minimalizing or trivializing sin: or #15-Indulging in self-pity and a victim mentality: from the above list. Also when you don’t take responsibility, there is no gratitude for what has already been done for you.
In this episode of “Til Debt Do Us Part”, a single mother is bleeding her parents dry. She has no budget, no intention of ever paying her parents back and no gratitude for the $20,000.00 they have already given her. Gail Vox-Oxade gives her three challenges to become more responsible:
Live on a cash budget,
Every bite she eats she needs to cook at home,
Clean her parents house and fix them dinner once a week.
This young woman’s parents did not teach her to be responsible. They were enabling her, #19, and mystified why their relationship had deteriorated. When this single mother finally chose to be responsible, things started improving in her life. Being responsible makes us the happiest!