Guest Column: Responsibility

Mayor Rod Higgins

Spokane Valley Mayor Rod Higgins

The Partners Advancing Character Education (PACE) trait for this month is RESPONSIBILITY, a many-faceted word, encompassing a wide range of moral, emotional, ethical and common-sense situations. But let’s start with the trite and not too informative dictionary definition. Responsibility: The quality or state of being responsible, in areas such as moral, legal, or mental accountability. It then offers synonyms such as reliability, trustworthiness, and dependability.

Responsibility definitely is all those things, but it means something more. Responsibility is also about knowing yourself and constantly striving to be the best person possible. And, of course, being vigilant to see what you can do to improve conditions and help others. When you practice responsibility, you’re working to make your life, and the lives of those around you, the very best they can be!

Here are some relevant quotes about responsibility:

“‘I must do something’ always solves more problems than ‘Something must be done.’” – Author Unknown

“If you mess up, ‘fess up’.” – Author Unknown

“When you blame others, you give up your power to change.” – Author Unknown

“Never point a finger where you never lent a hand.” – Robert Brault

“Though I am not always responsible for what happens to me, I am responsible for how I handle what happens to me.” – Zig Ziglar

“Winners take responsibility. Losers blame others.” – Brit Hume

“In the final analysis, the one quality that all successful people have is the ability to take on responsibility.” – Michael Korda

“A hero is someone who understands the responsibility that comes with his freedom.” – Bob Dylan

“The time is always right to do what is right” – Martin Luther King, Jr.

“The price of greatness is responsibility.” – Winston Churchill

How do you deal with responsibility as it applies directly to you? In a recent opinion piece, author Richard Maybury stated that he bases his beliefs on common law and two guiding principles.

  1. Do all you have agreed to do, and;
  2. Do not encroach on other persons or their property.

Good words for personal conduct. He goes on to elaborate on the legal principles stemming from his proposition. Ask yourself, among your friends and family, are you known as a “stand-up person?” Can you be depended upon? Is your word, your bond? Are you the person you’d want in the foxhole next to you? In short, are you responsible, not just to yourself, but in consideration of others in how you manage your affairs?

Those questions are intended to generate a look in the mirror. The world quite often perceives you differently than how you view yourself. Have you taken time recently to put aside your cell phone and ask a friend or family member how they are? Did you look into their eyes and note their facial expressions, so important to communication, and thus gain personal understanding?

The responsible person is like a magnet. They “have it together.” As a responsible person, they also employ the entire list of PACE traits in the conduct of their daily lives. To quote Malcolm Forbes, “Those who enjoy responsibility usually get it; those who merely like exercising authority usually lose it.” That would seem to indicate that responsible people are often not just leaders, but effective ones.

Responsibility means all those things, but it’s so much more. It’s consistently doing all you can to be a better person while working to help others in improving themselves. In short, when you practice responsibility, along with all the other PACE traits, you’re on your way to making your life more fulfilling and worthwhile!

Rod Higgins was selected by his fellow Councilmembers to serve as Mayor for 2016 through 2017; and again for 2018 through 2019.  His professional career included nearly 40 years in mining and financial services. Higgins holds a B.S. Degree in Finance from the University of Idaho. In addition to involvement in a number of community and professional organizations, he served as a City of Spokane Valley Planning Commissioner from January of 2012 until his appointment to the Council in February of 2013. Mayor Higgins has been a supporter of PACE since being a member of the City Council. He regularly attends the annual PACE Awards where 40 area students are honored for displaying good character.