Sunday, November 9, 2008

Responsibility and Entitlement

If you have read my past blogs, you might know my wife and I used to have three dogs. One of them was from a bad background and had temperament issues. While a very sweet dog, he would get very nervous about new people. Strangely, baseball caps made him completely nuts. As we were expecting our first child, we struggled and debated as to risk our baby to the mercurial moods of this dog and the impact of the other dogs as well. Eventually, an opportunity came to adopt all three dogs out without a danger of a humane society putting them to sleep. While this was an extremely difficult decision, it was the right one. Later on down the road, we had some complications with the pregnancy and had to live with very giving friends of my wife’s family for the last three months of our pregnancy. After that, we were able to rent out our house in Arizona and rent another place in Utah. That too would have been impossible with three dogs. In short, the right choice was the very hard choice.

Which brings me to my point (and I do have one, folks!) - responsibility and entitlement. During our years with our dogs and now, with a new baby, we are constantly stuck not being able to do certain things. It’s pretty intuitive what I’m talking about. Whether its children or animals, if we don’t have means to have someone baby sit our brood or have a “brood friendly” event, then we don’t go and (Here’s my point! Here’s my point!) we are responsible for that. During the early years with our dogs, we struggled with the sense of entitlement that comes with wanting to eat our cake and have it too. We would invite people over and have to put the dogs outside. We would want to go someplace and not be able to go as it was too long without someone checking in, or we were unable to get someone to house sit them for a bit.

With a baby, it’s about five times more challenging. Understand the life benefits far outweigh the challenges, but an event has to be baby friendly or we need to have a sitter. If those fall through, we can’t go. We are trying to remember that these are our problems. In years past, we would often struggle with the natural thoughts that the “Non-us” friendly event was someone else’s oversight, ignorance or selfishness. Truth is, it is always our issue. We choose our life and that comes with certain responsibilities. None of us, not me, not any one of us, has built in entitlements. Every day we earn what we get and need to be respectful of others. We’re never perfect so these questions should reflect inward for application.

This came up today in a very innocuous way, but I’m taking this opportunity to remind myself to remember to be self reflective on this issue. So, repeat with me. “I am responsible for my life choices. I am not entitled to impose those choices on others.” Repeat as needed.