Or can you?
There's a blog that several of my Facebook fans are sharing concerning Dave Ramsey's position on poor Americans. In his view, our situations are based on our decisions. If we make poor decisions, we would have a poor situation. If you are poor, jobless, and on welfare, then it's your fault. Your life reflects the poor decisions you made. After all, this is America and you could choose to be rich or stay poor. It's all about the decisions you make.
But, if you think about it, why do we make certain decisions? We make our decisions based on what we've been taught.
A baby knows nothing when born, except that it's cold, hungry, tired, etc. He doesn't know how to hate, love, or what career choices he needs to make. All of those things are taught to him as he gets older. The older he gets, the more he's taught, and the more decisions he's going to make based on what his parents teach him.
Think about a child who's disrespectful to authority. He didn't learn that on his own! He saw his parents being disrespectful to authority. One time when I was a middle school teacher, I remember a kid saying that he hated the police! Who taught him to hate the police? Since he hates the police, he's going to make decisions in his life that reflects his teaching -- and his decisions might land him in jail!
Or think about an overweight child who's getting fatter and fatter. Doesn't this kid understand that his poor choices are leading him to gain weight?? Well, if both of his parents are overweight, and his other family members are overweight, and his friends and teachers are overweight, well, do you expect this kid to know any better? He's going to continue to make decisions based on his teachings -- and those decisions could lead him to many health problems.
Your decisions are based on what you've been taught. If you've been taught wrong, you'd make the wrong decisions. If you've been taught right, you'd make the right decisions.
If you grew up in a family that valued marriage "till death do you part," then you'd make decisions based on those values. You'd get married, and when you hit marital problems, you do what you can to save your marriage. Divorce wouldn't be an option for you. This is why you find SO MANY older couples who have been married for 50, 60, 70, or 80 years! They grew up in a culture that valued marriage.
However, if you grew up in a family where marriage is seen as joke, then you might find yourself either divorced too many times or frequently hopping from one relationship to another. This is why you find SO MANY younger couples who either aren't married but have a "partner" or who have been divorced AT LEAST once. They grew up in a culture that doesn't value marriage.
I think it's wild to hear of 20-year-olds getting divorced!
If you make plenty of good decisions, I can't give you all the credit. If you make plenty of bad decisions, I can't put all the blame on you. Whatever decisions you make only reflect what you've been taught.
Think about a woman who has 5 kids with 5 different daddies. Is she responsible for her actions? Absolutely! But what were her decisions based on? They were based on what she knows, and what she knows stem from what she has seen and heard while growing up. If the women in her family did the same thing as she did, then it's no wonder that she made some poor decisions. So, I can't completely blame her.
Think about a man who is always gambling, buying nice things, but is cheating the welfare system. Is he responsible for his actions? Yes! Now, who taught him to have poor values is the question! He probably grew up where he frequently saw his parents buying scratch off tickets, who did what they could to stay on welfare, but who also bought nice things for themselves. So, I can't completely blame him for his actions: he's only doing what he knows.
Unfortunately, if you make bad decisions, you have to take full responsibility for those decisions. You can't blame mama, papa, big bro, the school system, etc. All they do is teach you certain values. When you make decisions based on those values, then any consequences that happen based on those decisions fall completely on you!
- I think about criminals who turn to a life a crime. What if they were taught better?
- I think about obese individuals who suffered heart attacks and strokes. What if they were taught better?
- I think about an individual who gotten herself into an abusive relationship where her boyfriend was into drugs and gangs. What if she was taught better?
- I think about individuals who are poor and struggling to survive. What if they were taught better?
These individuals are suffering because of their poor decisions -- decisions that were based on poor teaching.
So, think about your life. Where are you? Are you happy or miserable? How did you get to where you are now? Were you taught right or taught wrong?
If you have made bad decisions, then before you beat yourself over it, ask yourself WHY you made those decisions. You might be surprised to find that you were indirectly taught to make those poor decisions. But now is the time to be taught the RIGHT way so that you could make better decisions in life.
And if you have kids, make sure you are teaching them the right things! If you don't teach them...somebody else will.