Blaming or Claiming

The Latest Word from John Ed Mathison

Jake and Stephanie Dean’s daughter Logann is a fifth grader. She came home from school Monday, September 31, and asked her mother, “Are we not going to have dollars anymore?” Stephanie wanted to know why she was asking this. Logann responded, “My teacher says our country is broke and those lawmakers in Washington are acting like kindergarteners.” That pretty well sums up our situation.

The government has shut down. People are without work. People are frustrated. People are confused. Stephanie also raised the question, “If the government is shut down, do we keep paying taxes?” I can answer that one.

Everybody is blaming everybody else. Blame is being placed on the Republicans, the Democrats, the President, the Tea Party, the conservatives, the liberals, etc.

What would happen if we spent as much energy and creative thought on fixing the problem as we do on fixing the blame? We may never know who is totally to blame, but as an American citizen I would love to see somebody quit blaming and start claiming some creative thought to get us out of this mess. It will take a lot of conversation, negotiating, and willingness to concede some things. We are a nation of diverse people with diverse thoughts. We can only function as we arrive at some consensus.

The blame game is not something new. It actually is the oldest game in existence. It goes all the way back to the beginning of time in the Garden of Eden when Adam took a bite of the apple. When he was confronted by God he basically said, “It wasn’t my fault. The woman made me do it.” When God turned to Eve she basically said, “It wasn’t my fault. The snake made me do.” Not sure who the snake blamed. Read Genesis 3:11-13.

Fixing the blame will never solve the problem. In life there will always be challenges. Challenges can become opportunities. We need to spend less time blaming and more time claiming something positive out of a bad situation.

Part of the problem is that none of us want to change. We have our ideas and we think we are right. I have generally found that nobody is completely right all the time. An ability to confess that we are wrong is the first step towards doing something constructive.

I am hearing that the approval rating of our political leaders is reaching an all time low. Just observing their actions on television and radio may drive their approval ratings even lower. We need leadership at all levels who will quit fixing the blame and start fixing the problem.

The attitude of “my way or the highway” generally leads to a dead end dirt street! An ability to look at alternative situations is necessary to get on a highway that is leading to where America ought to be.

Logann’s teacher’s assessment of our situation was very interesting. All of us need to “go to school.” Kindergarteners do graduate to higher grades. Maybe it is time for all of us to go to school and learn some lessons about the need to keep the American dream alive and move our country to the ideals of “a government of the people, by the people, and for the people.”

I remind us of what assessing blame rather than accepting responsibility did to Adam. We are still living with his response!

The best way to win the blame game is by not playing!

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