Mistakes should hurt; there should be scares. Mistakes should have consequences. The person who made the mistake should be held accountable at whatever level of recompense required to account for an irresponsible action. That could mean anything spanning jail time to having to say, “I’m sorry.” Realizing you made a mistake should be a defining point of your day, maybe even your life. A mistake that results in a painful outcome, or a mistake that is accompanied by significant adverse consequences is, at least for prudent people, a teaching moment; the lesson to be learned, “Don’t do that again.” At the very least, mistakes should enforce the need to calculate second and third order affects of our actions. “What are the possible outcomes if I hang outside a moving train to get a selfie?”
Some mistakes (even those repeated time and time again) go unnoticed until the Law of Chance comes to collect its debt; then a minor mistake or misstep will extract its toll in blood and broken bones, or death, in quick order. So quick can be the collection of the debt that the perpetrator has maybe 1/100th of a second to realize a mistake has been made; that 1/100th of a second will last the rest of their life. You ever read stories, or watch YouTube videos of “The Darwin Awards?” I believe, those who appear as a recipient of the Darwin Award, or at least a large portion of them, are people who never took the time to learn from their mistakes; they never applied that life lesson or, more truthful than not, were never held accountable for their mistakes and/or irresponsible actions. Their failure to properly apply lessons offered up by their mistakes resulted in them being remembered not by what they did in life, but rather by the ridiculous nature of their death or, a much scarier scenario, the death of others.
I believe, as a society, we’ve ushered in this ill-conceived concept of not forcing an acceptance of responsibility for a bad act; and we have done so from an impractical vantage point; one we call moral but is anything but. Rather than learn from mistakes we, as a society, have taken it upon ourselves, in order to avoid damaging their ego, to no longer allow people to take responsibility for their own actions. It’s always someone else’s fault—the public education system failed, it’s society’s fault, let’s blame global warning, let’s blame the parent who is not present, the environment or national history. Blame anything or anyone you want—just don’t blame the person. Unless of course that person is of a different political persuasion then we have every right to blame them for the ill-effect of sunspots and gall-force winds.
If you are unable to take responsibility for your actions and/or unable to learn from your mistakes, then you are doomed to make the same mistake over and over and quite probably pass the trait of irresponsible action on to the next generation.
The ill-conceived notion that we are not responsible for our own actions propagates itself like cancer and with the same result. If you know a person who does not learn from their mistakes, and I suspect we all know at least one, then that person should be shunned and disregarded; nothing good can come from an association with such people… other than maybe another segment for the Darwin Award.
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