Tag: accountability

Everything You Do…

Everything You Do…

I met a man at a dinner party a couple of weeks ago…no, this is not going where your mind just went.  It’s a story about how everything you do, good or bad, has a ripple effect.  You may never know the consequences of your actions.  Please read on, it’s a story about kindness.

In conversation with the man I met,  Brian, I was telling a story about my dad.  There was a time when my father had to account for every nickel of his paycheck, literally every nickel.

Every day my dad drove a fellow teacher to work and home again.  She was not able to drive so she paid dad five dollars a week for his kindness.  Considering it was the 1960’s, five dollars covered gas for the car and then some.  He would have done it just because it was the right thing to do.  

My dad taught in what would be considered an “inner city” school.  Many of the kids in dad’s fifth-grade class arrived at school without having breakfast.  They may have gone to bed without dinner.  When the milk cart came to his classroom, dad made sure every child had a five-cent carton of milk to start the day.

“I know your dad,” Brian said as I finished the story.

Brian was a student teacher in dad’s classroom fifty-something years ago and observed this act of kindness play out every day.  It turns out Brian grew up in a dysfunctional family.  Witnessing an adult display this small act of kindness, buying a carton of milk for a child, gave Brian an example of a compassionate adult and role model for life.

Brian added that for fifty-something years he has been telling the story of this kind teacher and how it influenced his own life in a positive way.  But Brian did not remember the man’s name.  To be sure Brian was talking about my dad, I shared a story about a learning tool my dad built for his class to learn the state capitals.  Yes, it was the same man.

Was it a coincidence that Brian and I met that night?  I don’t think so.  Brian has the name of the man who made a positive impact on him so long ago.  For me, it confirms what I already know about my father, he was a kind man.  Every child who received a carton of milk felt the impact of that nickel and so did everyone who observed the act of kindness.

Everything you do…



Recently my journey led me down a trail that explores the meaning of accountability.  I was amazed at how many sources used the word accountable in the definition of accountability.  Not helpful dictionary editors.  I found two definitions that work for me.

1.  Accountability – responsible to somebody or for something; an obligation or willingness to accept responsibility. (Encarta Dictionary) I might even switch it around to say ‘responsible for somebody or to something’.

personal accountability chickens

2.  Personal Accountability – Being willing to answer for the outcomes resulting from your choices, behaviors, and actions.  www.toddherman.com

Personal accountability is very familiar to me.  As someone who has made unconventional choices in my career and personal life, I accept total responsibility for my actions and behaviors.  I was able to make those choices because I have only been accountable for me.  No need to confer with someone or consider someone else’s needs.  Some of those decisions led to less than optimal results, but no regrets here.  Each decision has made me the person I am today.  I like to believe that the whole person I have become is greater than the sum of the parts.  With many more decisions to make, I am only a fraction of the person I will become.

Just over two weeks ago I made a personal decision to become accountable for someone else.  My last blog introduced Juli, an exchange student who is now a part of my life.  Each day I am accountable to her and for her and that has increased my personal accountability.

My life has more structure.  I set the alarm so I can get ready for the day and get her to school on time.  Sometimes I set an alarm on my phone to be sure I leave to pick her up from school on time.  Meals need to be planned for and prepared.  I get texts and emails from her school about schedule changes, homework assignments and whatever else the school deems important.  We are planning some sightseeing trips to enhance her visit to the United States.

Adding structure to my life to meet my responsibilities for some else has helped me add structure to meet my goals for this year and beyond.  My personal accountability has reached a new level by taking on the responsibility for someone else.

To bring this blog to a close, I would like to share a few quotes I found that ring true for me.

“The right thing to do and the hard thing to do are usually the same.”
Steve Maraboli, Life, the Truth, and Being Free

“It is wrong and immoral to seek to escape the consequences of one’s acts.”
Mahatma Gandhi

“As for the journey of life; at some point you will realize that YOU are the driver and you will drive!”
Steve Maraboli, Life, the Truth, and Being Free