Scene opens on a gymnasium, the sign drooping from the arch above the stage reads: “Junior Regional Spelling Bee”. There are 20 or so chairs lined up, half full with impatient kids. Each of them focused but fidgeting. There is every type of kid: a short kid in an argyle sweater, the lanky girl with red hair and freckled nose, and the know it all kid sitting smugly, waiting for the other contestants to say the wrong letter- so he can laugh. The gym is dark and silent as a cute pig tailed blonde girl makes her way towards centre stage, the only sound is the feedback as she blows onto the mic. From the darkness comes a voice:
Adjudicator: The word is responsibility.
Contestant: What is the root of the word?
Adjudicator: “answerable” (to another, for something), from obsolete French responsible, from the Latin respons-. Meaning “accountable for one’s actions”; that of “reliable, trustworthy”. Retains the sense of “obligation” in the Latin root word.
Contestant: Can you use it in a sentence?
Adjudicator: You are responsible for your actions and the decisions you make.
Contestant: Responsibility-R-E-S-P-O-N-S-I-B-I-L-I-T-Y- responsibility
Adjudicator: Correct. Contestant advances to the lightning round.
A Disco ball drops from the rafters, shooting light and love out into the audience. Strobe lights and a bubble machine kick into high-gear. Suddenly the whole room has fallen ill- with Disco Fever. Dance to fade out.
Alright, alright, that never happened. If it did I would go to a lot more spelling bees. By now you’re probably wondering what the heck this is all about. Well, let me tell you. I am not great with confrontation. I typically respond with flight, which can be challenging depending on my whereabouts. But this is about responsibility. And all the crazy things that one 6 syllable word encompasses.
Earlier this week, BFF and I were discussing our self-imposed responsibilities. We are responsible for how we look and how we present ourselves to the world around us. We have fiscal and relationship responsibilities. Hubby and I are responsible for the beloved Lucy-Goose and Jilly Bean. Responsibility comes in all shapes, sizes and weights.
The greatest responsibility we have though is Socially. Social responsibility is up to all of us. We are not islands in the stream, we are fish in a crowded school. And when the fish in front of you yells something at another fish causing you to get doored, well, that’s an F. When another fish drives carelessly, endangering the fish around him, that’s an F. When another school of fish takes up the entire sidewalk without moving so that your school can swim past, well, that’s an F. And when one fish swims up stream, the school suffers the toil alongside. What I am saying is that most of us little fishys aren’t worried about being hooked and gutted, we are just going with the flow. Okay, wait, the fish analogies have gotten a bit out of hand, but I think we all know what I am saying…Right?
As a little girl, I would always lament about the injustices done to me. I would blame others for being irresponsible with my feelings. I would rant and rave about fairness. My Momma, the smart lady that she is, would always remind me, that no matter how badly I was feeling somebody, somewhere was feeling worse. Which, by the way, never helps anyone feel better, and it made me feel worse for being spoiled. But she always knew what to say, and the most important thing she said was: “The only person you have the power to change, is yourself.” See, I told you she was smart. That lesson helped me to realize that I have the responsibility to set a good example, no matter how hard it seems. So, little fishys, let’s go back to school, and try to remember: “With great power, comes great responsibility.” Wow, that has a nice ring to it, I wonder if anyone’s ever said that before.