Tag Archives: family

Theory of Personal Responsibility

8-year-old boy with Down Syndrome
8-year-old boy with Down Syndrome (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I am responsible for me.

This means first that I must act in a way that is responsible for myself. Live out the consequences of my choices without needlessly burdening others.  Other have their own troubles and their own responsibilities. When we each who are capable live in this way we both free others to do the same and free ourselves to be more able to help those who truly are needy.

It is a paradox that those who are most self-sufficient are those most capable of helping those who are not.

Existing social structures are each responsible in turn: Family follows the self, then friends, then community and civic/social groups, then local government, then state government, then federal government. This does not mean the federal government is the ultimate authority. It means that the federal government is only authority when and in circumstances where all other levels have either failed, abdicated, or are incapable on sufficient scale to bear any given responsibility. This is the same for each succeeding layer of responsibility: Family is only responsible for that which the individual is not capable of being responsible for. An infant is capable of very little in themselves, so the family is responsible for them, but the family is also responsible for raising that infant to take responsibility to the utmost of it’s capability. When the family fails, or a situation gets beyond, or is beyond, the family’s capability, greater numbers of involved and invested and capable people, friends that is, then share in the responsibility. This does not have to be only in serious situations, it could be when children go off to play together at each others houses, friends share in responsibilities to the benefit of all. Then communities such as churches, clubs, social circles and the like, to which we have voluntarily joined ourselves, bear a certain level of responsibility.

You can see the graduating layers as each successive level bears some responsibility innately and then gains certain responsibility based on specific situations and circumstances. The way to visualize this is as a pyramid: The individual has ultimate responsibility, that is, first and last. While others may become responsible at different times and in different situations, the individual has first responsibility and will answer at the end for all that pertains to them whether others were involved or not. Each successive and broadening layer then goes down, not up, in authority over the individual and over each successive layer. This leaves federal government not as the ultimate responsible party but as the last responsible party. In some ways this last position equates with “least”. It is last in priority, and therefore has least priority in the layers that stand above it. It is not a foundational position either. The foundational responsibility can only belong to something outside, something not us. God does not form a layer below the federal government, God forms the all-encompassing framework inside which the entire pyramid exists.

The second outcome of self-responsibility is that each successive layer of responsibility ought to generally, as a matter of course, act in a way that is not-responsible towards those layers that are above it in priority. Family only takes responsibility for the individual when and where that individual is incapable of being self-responsible. Friends, only when and where the family is beyond it’s capability. And so on. The various layers of government ought only bear that responsibility for which all other layers are incapable or not suited. This does not mean that each successive layer out to act antagonistically to those layers above it in responsibility, but ought instead to build up each layer in order that those other layers are MORE capable, and so that responsibility only falls upon the lower layers when all else has failed. In other words, the family ought to build up the individual so that the family is less necessary, and less likely to be called upon to support that individual as it matures and takes on more responsibility for itself. The friends ought to build up the family and the individual in the same way, and the community ought to do the same for the friends and the family and the individual, and so on. This structure of reinforced and supported and encouraged responsibility results in the strongest communities, the strongest families, the strongest nations, because each individual and each successive layer of responsibility is invest in those that take priority above it, and as each successive layer is made as strong as it can, the entire structure can bear much weight and stress in times where responsibility increases or situations change for any given layer.

The federal government, then, ought to be primarily invested not in centralizing responsibility, authority, and power to itself, but instead in divesting authority. Not delegating, for that implies that it retains ultimate responsibility and is superior to those layers which are in fact superior to it. But divesting authority, actually giving it away (or, more realistically, having it taken away) to those layers which it ought to instead be supporting and reinforcing so that they are able and capable of bearing more and more responsibility and authority.

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Keep It Zipped

Charles' Scartlett Letter

YaVaughnie Wilkins posted the signs after she learned that her lover, Charles E. Phillips president and director of the tech conglomerate Oracle Corporation and a member of Obama’s Economic Recovery Advisory Board had reconciled with his wife, the New York Post reported.

Charles E. Phillips has a 10 year old son, has had an 8-1/2 year “serious relationship” with Wilkins, and is a “family man”.

That means he’s “loved” this woman almost as long as he’s had a son. Consider the implications of that.

He’s a creep, untrustworthy, etc.

Well, he’s worthy of something, social disapprobation and shaming.

Which is exactly what YaVaughnie did. For the wrong reasons, yea. But I’m begging and not feeling particularly choosie.

Read about her billboards.

Good Father

Fatherhood is manly
Fatherhood is manly

I’ve been surprised of late at the sources and volume of negative or, at best, ambivalent feelings towards fathers and fatherhood.

My wife is getting involved in the ladies ministry at our church and there was a coffee and tea get together Saturday morning. My wife was planning several errands for the morning and so I was left caring for young William. So long as we have milk pumped and bottled he is quite alright with me. More importantly, I’m willing and able and responsible, as I am his father.

I’m no superhero, nor do I have any special ability beyond the normal. I’m not much of an outlier in this respect, I believe.

Rather, I consider myself normal.

I’m a normal man who has taken responsibility for his family, his wife and their child.

I work to support them financially, bu my responsibility does not end at 5pm Friday.

I’m a father, not just a breadwinner. A father is so much more than a breadwinner.

I’m a diaper changer, a dish washer, a laundromat, a soft shoulder, a chauffeur, a burp rag, a comic, a stereo, a counselor, a pastor, a manager, a confidant, a firm hand. I am whatever necessary to ensure both the macro- and micro-progress of my family towards our goal of bringing more glory to God and achieving greater Godliness mutually and individually.

I am capable and willing.

I’m not expert or perfect.

For the men who don’t think themselves capable: grow a pair, man up, find your spine. You’re capable of what you choose to be.

For the mothers who haven’t tried letting go and letting dad: he’ll grow into whatever you lovingly and with support allow him become, including dad.

For detractors and cynics everywhere of every stripe: leave. You’re not wanted. Your words only condemn another generation to fatherless failure. Your ideas enslave millions more in the stifling mire of your small minds and minuscule dreams.

Mothers are not superior, and neither are fathers. Both are needed and necessary for normative growth in children. Both are prone to failure.

It is no secret, except to those remaining willfully ignorant and despicable for it, that mothers are as capable of abuse as fathers, and for societies failure to accept it, becoming frighteningly more common.

In fact, it is the union of the two fallible, failed, faltering parents, both the mother and father together, who are most capable of lifting each other beyond their individual limitations and shortcomings. Not to achieve perfection, but to achieve the greater potential of success in whatever goal they have chosen.

And isn’t that what we’re all striving for?

So father, free yourself of the false notion of your incurable frailty and seize the mantel of manhood and be a father.

And mother, relinquish the idea of fatherly failure and instead build up and encourage and then step back and allow the man in your husband to thrive as it fills out the form of fatherhood.

Matthew William Kelly Bedford

Matthew William Kelly Bedford
Matthew William Kelly Bedford

After 14 hours in labor, my wife Grace gave birth to the most beautiful baby boy.

Matthew William Kelly Bedford is named after a dear friend of ours who was called home to be with our Lord not quite 1 year ago.

I only hope that this little man will grow into the true man that was, and is, Matthew William Kelly.

For those who like details. Matthew weighed 8lbs 6 oz, 20in long. He has a Bedford face but borrows his nose and mouth creasing from his mother. My dad says the nose is also his mothers.

He was very alert and inquisitive from the get go, earning an APGAR score of 9. He smiled for mother and will follow us with his eyes. He likes being sung to. And I was overwhelmed with emotion when he was born.

Something that struck me is how much birth must be like death: The womb seems safe and good and a nice place to spend your life, and birth is this scary thing. All of a sudden your senses are bombarded with light and noise and pain and… more. More than you’d experienced ever before.

The womb was good, but it was temporary. A place of preparation. Preparation for life.

Then life become comfortable, known, expected. Life is good enough, full enough, and not long enough. And we fear death.

Once we die, I believe we’ll experience sensations we’ve never experienced before. The sounds and sights, smells, and sensations we’ve experienced in life will seem like the dull sensations of the womb.

Life is good, but it is temporary. A place of preparation. Preparation for…

I’ve Been Let Go

laid-offOn Wednesday afternoon I was laid off from my job, along with two others from the Service Desk.

ACS Inc is going through a belt-tightening and they cut the McDonalds IT Service Desk US Crew from 8 to 5.

We were a good team and I had good times with all the good people there. I’ll miss working alongside them.

But to the future.

I admit it’s a little worrisome being laid off in such times as these. But at the same time, it’s an adventure in trust, and in possible being forced into some of those free-market principles I’ve espoused philosophically, if not in actual practice.

It’s not a dire situation: ACS Inc let us go with 2 weeks severance pay (Yay! 2 weeks paid vacation! Right when my baby boy is due!). Insurance will continue through August 15th, which should cover the birth. And I signed up for unemployment insurance which will cover our needs quite well.

Be praying for Grace and I as we look forward to the birth of our son very soon. And that God would grant us peace and trust as He continues to lead us in the way He has for us.

Stay tuned for the future.

And if you know of someone looking for a skilled technologist, point them to my presence on the web where they can find my latest resume: Music2MyEar.com