Perhaps my musings are useless rhetoric, rather than helpful conjecture, but I have appreciated the feedback I've been getting from my readers. My real pay-off is not as much the feedback, however, as the accountability that writing these kinds of things creates within my own life.
I talk a lot about integrity, which is, quite frankly, not what people think it is. I used to hear that it means 'you do what you said you would do'. It meant that you were reliable, like an automaton, or loyal, like a dog.
Keeping one's word is not always possible and everyone knows that promises are broken all of the time. Even the most well-meaning parent can promise their child the world, but they are guaranteed to let them down eventually. In fact, the wisest people say to never even make promises.
Loyalties change and reliability is tenuous, because life is filled with surprises. Mistakes are made and the right decisions aren't always clear to even the most 'stable' individuals.
The most important things in life are food, communication and relationships.
Owning up to one's own mistakes or broken promises is part of mending relationships. People of integrity answer questions honestly about their actions. Mistakes are inevitable, but accountability seems to be a rare commodity these days.
In order for relationships to survive, let alone progress, people must talk openly and honestly, without repressing emotions or stunting communication.
Relationship integrity, whether a marriage or a parent-child relationship, a sibling rivalry or a neighbourly annoyance - whatever those issues are, complete with the complex emotional charges behind them - requires accountability. Within relationships, integrity manifests, for example, as hopefulness, trust, patience and honesty.
People of integrity, brought up with accountability, can easily survive harsh words and they can answer tough questions. If we give our children unconditional acceptance, they will be empowered to explore the realm of difficult realities, feeling supported but not pacified. People must grow where they are planted and there is no sense in trying to make someone into something they are not.
Most bullies will not only deny responsibility, they will usually also turn it around on those attempting to hold them accountable.
My husband Kelt always says that if you really want people to answer tough questions, get a third party witness. It's much easier to weasel one's way out of having to deal with something if nobody else is around to observe.
This makes me think of all of the reality television people watch. Is it real? In the case of 'therapy' shows like Dr. Phil, when cameras are put in peoples' homes, are the subjects really behaving like they always do? Aren't they always, at first, on their best behavior? Inevitably, however, at some point, they forget about the cameras and they let their guard down, showing their true colours.
I think most of us would need to have cameras in our homes in order to be on our best behavior. If there were cameras in my home, I would definitely act differently. I will be the first to admit that, as an adult, I have always felt 'free to be me' in my home. I would feel sorry for whoever was watching, too.
How do we know that each and every one of our homes isn't bugged or rigged with cameras, anyway? I don't believe in conspiracy theory. I know conspiracy is fact and that the conspirators will be held accountable one day, too.
Don't we all need to acknowledge that unseen forces could be observing our every action and thought? When we die, we will each be held accountable for our choices. These choices also have immediate and lasting effects, which change the relationships and events of our lives.
I encourage my loved ones to challenge me on my shortcomings. I will be open and honest, if you can believe that! They can even bring cameras and we'll have one heck of a reality TV show!