Friday, April 8, 2011

Responsibility in the Small Things

"It's a question of discipline," the little prince told me later on.  "When you've finished washing and dressing each morning, you must tend your planet."  ~Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, The Little Prince    Quotes on Responsibility

Responsible is apparently rather a new word, dating back from the late 16th century.   It came from the word "to respond" and wasn't used as "morally accountable" until the 1800's.    But responsibility means ability and willingness to take charge of things that need to be done, and in this sense it's a very old concept:

"Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much, and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much.  Luke 16:10
This article, called Faithful in the Little Things, makes the point that it's the "easy" things, things that anybody could do but few actually do, that keep the world going.

Instead of solely pursuing the difficult things that few can do. Try being diligent with the easy things that few will do.

Anyone can set an alarm clock and get out of bed in the morning.

Anyone can be respectful of other people.

Anyone can show up when they said they’d be there.

Anyone can give their best effort every time they’re called upon.

Anyone can arrive on time (or maybe even a few minutes early).

Anyone can lay their ego down and serve someone else’s interests.

Anyone can tell the truth and keep a promise.

This reminds me of St Therese's words
“There are trifles which please Our Lord more than the conquest of the world: a smile or a kindly word, for instance, when I feel inclined to say nothing or to appear bored…Believe me, the writing of pious books, the composing of the sublimest poetry, all that does not equal the smallest act of self-denial.”
So how is this taught to children?   I think I have to figure that out in another post.

1 comment:

  1. Hmmm. I would argue that these seemingly little things are hard to do! That's why they are such a struggle for us all. It is true we are all capable of being better, but it ain't easy!


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