Face the Music and Take Responsibility

We watched several video clips during this week’s class, and I have to say these people involved in DC Lead Crisis, especially decision makers, can fabricate everything and feel quite comfortable with it. They violate every professional conduct and put the public health on threat. Can they be brave enough to face the music and take responsibilities? The sooner they admit their mistake, the faster remediation process can be initiated to save more people, especially infants. However, none of them admit their fault in front of the camera. This is really heart breaking.

When I was young, my parents and teachers always told me that every person need to take responsibility of their actions. Definitely we will make wrong choices that leads to mistakes and loss now and then. Nobody is perfect, and we need to face the music, apologize, and learn a good lesson from it in order to avoid a similar mistake in the near future. This process can be painful, and it usually takes time to heal. I still remember when I was in elementary school, my friend living in the neighborhood persuaded me to help him steal one Game Boy in a shop. I just needed to stand watch. Later that night, I felt so bad about this theft and told my parents about the whole thing. Though the “betrayal” costed my friendship for a while, the adults (all the parents) thought I was brave enough to admit my wrong doings. Eventually, my friend also thanked me for my “betrayal” since he learned quite a good lesson through his mistake, through in a hard way.

I know it will not be easy to admit the mistakes for people standing at a high position. As a decision maker, you have more things to think about, for example your reputation and company’s image. However, all these cannot serve as your excuse to face the music and prevent further damage. Just like what we discussed in the class, don’t think too much before making the decision. Sometimes you should trust your instinct and make the right move. Taking responsibility is not supposed to make you weak. Instead, the public will trust more on a person who is brave enough to acknowledge his own fault with a detailed fixing plan. I feel sad to know DC Lead Crisis is not an isolated incident, and we have following Flint Water Crisis and other potential health-related issues. Ethics should not be only offered at school, but also in all kinds of companies, organisations, and agencies for adults to avoid similar tragedies. We need more trust and higher moral standard in the modern world, and let’s start with taking responsibilities.

3 Comments on “Face the Music and Take Responsibility

  1. I really appreciated how candid your comment was. I too have had experiences where I’ve done something wrong and felt terrible about it. Hearing that your friend eventually reconciled, and even thanked you for coming clean was interesting for me, and kind of made me happy.

    Our lifes journey is made up of small encounters such as yours and his with the Gameboy. It’s an interesting thought exercise to wonder what may have happened had you not fessed up to it. Would you still be racked with guilt to this day? Or, even worse, not have any guilt at all? Would he have gone on to steal more because it was okay to do it around his friends? I think your one choice that day may have changed the course of at least two lives…

    Then again it may have just been an isolated incident of two kids taking a Gameboy and you would have grown up to be perfectly good people, who knows.

  2. I agree with your perspective and also think that it is so necessary to continue to teach ethics beyond “right” and “wrong” and “good” and “bad” as children. Apologizing, and then taking the fault for mistakes, is always necessary.

    Guilt is such a physical feeling. I was raised loosely Catholic and went to a Catholic elementary school in my formative years, so I think I have a heightened sense of guilt than most people. I could not imagine how it would feel to not tell the truth to the public as an official at WASA during the lead crisis. When I feel like I have done something I should not have, I feel physically and mentally on-edge and like I have to do everything I can to get it out. I am sure you experienced something similar when your friend stole the Game Boy.

    Those who did wrong in DC and covered it up seemed to be in a culture of compliance and negligence so deep that, by the time they were confronted by the public, they were so used to their lies that their saw their falsehoods as truth. I hope I never find myself in that kind of situation and my Catholic guilt continues to follow me around.

  3. Let’s start taking some responsibility! That is a very interesting way to end the blog. I really like how you mention that ethics have to be taught not only at the school level but at professional level. I also want to add that it is more important to feel sorry than just saying it because the world wants to hear it. That is the conscience part, and I think it is not something that you can teach. It is something that happens naturally in people when they are around ethically better people. Some qualities, I feel, get imbibed when you are around certain people and that helps a great deal. So, practice of morality and respecting conscience are more important is what I feel.
    Great post!

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