As a writer, I have to confess a rather obsessive passion for reading. I am an advertiser’s dream when it comes to a blog post or news article that has been shared to my social channels, I can’t help but read it. So as a result, I read a lot. And just occasionally, I read something that really gets on my nerves.
It seems that this fabulous, supportive society that we live in just isn’t good enough for some people. You see, whatever cards life deals you, we in the UK are lucky enough to have the resources and support to see us through it.
Don’t get me wrong, I understand that everyone goes through tough times, some more than others. But it’s the way we deal with it that counts.
So, you’re finding something a bit difficult, let’s take knitting as an example. You really want to knit but you just can’t quite get it right, so you find a lovely local support group.
There are some accomplished knitters there, but a few short months ago they were in your position and someone helped them through a tough time. So they keep attending the knitting group to support the new knitters.
During general conversation, a couple of the expert knitters mention that they don’t like the needles that you use or the pattern you are following. This cuts you to the core at a time when you really needed kind words.
So what do you do? Put their harsh words down to the personal knitting battles that they are still facing and get on with your own knitting, find another support group or keep going with this one and vow that you’ll be more supportive when you are in their position?
Or, do you give up knitting, convinced that you’re not a strong enough person to cope with their sharp tongues and then complain about the support group?
Let’s just stop and think about that for a moment. What makes a strong person? Are we born strong, is it nurture during childhood or is it personal choice?
My opinion is that it is personal choice. It seems that these days, we are taught from early on that there is always somebody else to blame, perhaps because our parents are unwilling to take responsibility for their own actions.
An example struck me this morning. I overheard a conversation between Libby and hubby around the fact that Libby had done something to his phone and it wasn’t working. Libby used the phrase, “What have I done?”
At two years old, Libby hasn’t yet got to the age where she has to shift the blame onto somebody else. Had she been a little older, would the conversation have been different? Would she have said something more along the lines of, “That wasn’t my fault, the phone is crap.”
And had she done so, would that have been my fault as her mother? Of course it would. I rarely apologise to Libby when I’m wrong, preferring to make out that I’m somehow absolved of responsibility. What a ridiculous attitude to take on in front of a child.
As adults though, we make our own choices. About work, life, love, accessing support, who we associate with and who we are as a person. We are free to go against our parents’ examples and teach our own children the right way.
And let’s go back to that support group. Now that you have told all your friends about the mean bullies who put you off knitting for life, new knitters don’t go there anymore. So the group dissolves and the next time someone struggles with their knitting, there is nobody to help them.
And what have you taught your children about social responsibility? You’ve taught them that not only does society owe them something, if what society comes up with isn’t good enough, they should just give up.
What you haven’t taught them is that they owe a debt to society. They will receive support in all sorts of situations throughout their lives, just like you have. But where does that assistance come from? Somebody has given up their time voluntarily to help them.
And as for you, the knitter. You feel that you are owed something by society, you never volunteer for charity, never help when you see someone struggling. You live a miserable existence, not because life gave you lemons, but because nobody provided you with the recipe to make lemonade.