It often boggles my mind that some of us are not able to distinguish between Expectation and Responsibility. The state of our society is a constant reminder that we no longer live by common values. The first question that comes to mind is “When did we become the society we are today?” The immediate response is “One has the right to individuality.” This seems to be a core concept among generations from Baby Boomers to millennials.
Responsibility is the foundation of existence. We are held accountable in all forms of our lives from religious, educational and cultural viewpoints. In looking at the role responsibility plays in our life, we will use the basic principles of life as our example. An egg from a female and the sperm from a male, combine to create a unique and personal being which then has a soul; feelings, senses, along with the Free Will (fundamental dignity and value of human life). This development created a person who has to function in the world with a purpose and a role in perpetuating the cycle of life.
As a Black woman in America when the word responsible comes to mind, the word unbalance resonates in my subconscious. James A. Baldwin puts it best when he states, “There are few things more dreadful than dealing with a man who knows he is going under, in his own eyes, and in the eyes of others. Nothing can help that man. What is left of that man flees from what is left of human attention.”
Responsible within the African American society varies based on the class into which one is born. It is important that we don’t get confused with the ideas that we are from culture-less ancestry. Due to our African American roots, our responsibility is greater due to our history. Our original culture is one of such a diverse and intricate distinction that even in our stages of reclaiming aspects for our basic survival, the sophistication in which we find our souls taking on from the pure nature of our ancestors is evolving into multiculturalism.
Here to best illustrate Responsibilities, I will continue with the child that has been born. As a parent it is my responsibility to give that child the essentials of survival; food, clothing and shelter, as the basics needs. Discipline, education, mutual respect, self esteem, moral values along with knowing your child – are responsibilities, that many times are confused and seen as expectations.
It is important that we do not stay confused and that we open our minds to the understanding that we are just at the beginning of a new stage of awakening. Your first responsibility is to yourself, to love you, to get to know you, to understand you, to be strong in the idea of you. Then and only then can you love someone else let alone be responsible for another person. As this may not be the state of mind for each person you encounter, it is a formula that can be applied whatever stage of your life you are in.
Hajjah Muti’ah- Lennora Pierrot CDT, CLC, Personal and Professional Consultant
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