Adulthood = Accountability

Sunday, June 5, 2011
First published on September 13, 2008.

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Occasionally, I have discussions with the Smart Boy about "what it means to be a successful adult."

The list usually includes such things as "get a job," and "pay your own bills," and "as long as you live in your mommy's house, you're not an adult," and "adults pay respectful attention to their franchise."

But lately I've decided that the heart of adulthood is accountability. And by accountability, I mean holding yourself accountable.

Holding yourself accountable to be a contributing member of society, including supporting yourself and your dependents without mooching off your family, your friends, your society.

Holding yourself accountable to be an informed voter, to learn what you need to learn in order to vote intelligently and responsibly.

Holding yourself accountable for keeping your word to others, whether that's being where you're supposed to be at the time you're supposed to be there, or completing a task that you've committed to do.

Holding yourself accountable for making things right when you screw up, whether that's falling on your sword with your boss, apologizing to a child, or changing your behavior for the future.

Holding yourself accountable for continuing to learn, to be a well-rounded and interesting person.

Holding yourself accountable for treating others with respect, for being kind, for leaving the world a better place when you die.

And the more I thought about these things, the more I realized how very many children I know. Children who live in adult bodies, and pretend to live adult lives, but who really are not adults, at least not by the yardstick I use. I myself did not achieve true adulthood in every aspect until I was in my 30's -it's a work in progress.

Of course this begs the question - if all these children in adult bodies are not really adults, then am I required to give their ideas, their demands, their opinions, the same consideration and weight I would to a real adult? Or am I only required to treat them as overgrown children?

3 comments:

mom in northern said...

Don't forget the "Adults" living in the bodies of children. By circumstance they had no other option.

xelomon said...

Hey, you've got a very interesting blog - and personality, I dare say.
And this adulthood post makes a strong point...

Janiece said...

Welcome, Xelomon.