January 6, 2012

Excuses, Excuses, Excuses

 50 Translations: "I'm scared."

Oh, the excuses I have heard. My teaching career started when 'the dog ate my homework' was still the most-used excuse going. By the time I retired from teaching dogs everywhere had been liberated from blame and slept comfortably. The most used excuse for late work had progressed to 'my printer/computer/disk ate my homework'.

By now I am sure the grade school excuse has progressed again and is something like 'I dropped my FlashStick in the toilet/sink/puddle'. It is not just the informal research gleaned as a teacher of young children, but my observations of people in general that made me aware that one thing humans do really, really well is make excuses.

There are all kinds of excuses being used to justify why 20% of the planet's inhabitants pig out on 80% of its resources. My favorite is "we work hard - we deserve it". If that were true, African grandmothers raising their AIDS-orphaned grand kids would be among the highest paid people in the world.

I heard nothing but excuses during, and since, the climate change talks in Durban, South Africa. Embarrassingly, my own country was among the most vocal examples of using excuses to avoid and delay urgently needed changes.

It does not matter if it is uncompleted grade six homework, or inaction on global inequality, making excuses only makes things worse. This is a lesson we should have solidly in place by the time we are about 10 years old. No one feels good inside when they resort to excuses - it only increases and extends the pain.

The pain suffered by humanity and the environment has gone on long enough. It's 2012 - NO MORE EXCUSES. It is time to shine the antiseptic spotlights of honesty, integrity, and responsibility upon our problems, both personal and global. Only this will treat the infection of denial.

When our denial ends, and we face our problems head on, we take action. When we finally do, it feels good, and we wonder why we hesitated with our excuses in the first place.

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