Who’s to Blame?

Things seem to be in a mess, don’t they? Environmental disasters. Economic disasters. Wars. You name it. There’s no end to the problems.

It could drive you crazy, thinking constantly about all that’s “wrong” in the world.

It’s easy within our own personal relationships to do a lot of arguing & blaming & fighting, too, I think.

I recently came across a creative & cheeky way to deal with the question, “Whose fault is it?”

In What On Earth Have I Done? Stories, Observations, and Affirmations, author Robert Fulghum (of All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten fame) suggests a very fun approach used in his household. Every member of the household (even their housekeeper) has her/his own day of the week to take responsibility for whatever goes wrong. Someone forgot to buy milk? Well – must be my fault; Thursday’s my day to be responsible for whatever goes wrong.

It sounds kind of crazy, I know, but it’s worth a try. It turns out to be fun! I experimented with it last weekend on an adventure-filled road trip with a couple friends, & it gave us lots of laughs.

As Fulghum puts it at the end of his essay (& I highly recommend the book; his essays are always worth reading),

“There are a lot worse ways to live together with other people. I know. I’ve tried them.”

I don’t think we can quite solve all the world’s problems this way. But then, only a naïve person would even believe that all the world’s problems are solvable. (Some of us are terminally naïve, aren’t we??)

In the Fulghum household, apologizing & grovelling a little go along with the taking of responsibility. I think we should all try out this approach!

After all, apologies are pretty magical. (In my books, anything that leads to transformation is magical, & I’ve definitely seen apologies transform situations & relationships. Great quote on apologies: “Apology is a lovely perfume; it can transform the clumsiest moment into a gracious gift.” (Margaret Lee Runbeck) Other things that are magical on ‘janet’s planet’ are walks, music/singing, friendship, books/reading, & … well, the mind is blanking right now, but since plenty of things are clearly transformational, you can fill in the blanks for yourself!)

In a whole lot of ways, the human race seems to be crawling around at the bottom of a pretty nasty, murky swamp.

Bitching & carping & blame-laying are not swamp-exiting maneuvers, I think.

Taking responsibility, & apologizing, & humour, & fun &, well, some hard work, too, of course… offer us much greater potential, I think.

What the heck, eh?

Gotta be worth a shot, at least.


p.s. other postings of potential relevance:


p.s. Some possible ‘Quotes for Today’:

“I do not want to talk about what you understand about this world. I want to know what you will do about it. I do not want to know what you hope. I want to know what you will work for. I do not want your sympathy for the needs of humanity. I want your muscle.” ~ Robert Fulghum (not sure where I picked this one up. Not in the book under current discussion, though, for sure! Just happened to run across it while trolling through my 88-page ‘Quotations’ document.)

“Saving our civilization is not a spectator sport.” – Lester Brown (Earth Policy Institute)

“Almost anything you do will seem insignificant, but it is very important that you do it.” – Mahatma Gandhi

“If your house is on fire, the most urgent thing to do is to go back and try to put out the fire, not to run after the person you believe to be the arsonist.” – Thich Nhat Hanh

“I can’t understand why people are afraid of new ideas, I’m afraid of the old ones.” – John Cage