What the “CAMP” Fire Has Taught Me – SO FAR

When there is adversity / are challenges, we need to turn those moments into ways of make the world better and MORE IMPORTANTLY – our lives better.  When we better our lives, the world benefits.  The brutal fires in California give us the opportunity to do better / be better!!  I am shocked by the response to the fires.  All sorts of responses…

The level of heroism of folks getting people out of the fire.  There is a touching video of a father driving him and his daughter out of the fire.  Hearing the dad’s reassuring voice should remind us the importance of “fathering.”  Cars melting as folks are driving.

Every firefighter / first responder shows the beauty of responsibility.  They have accepted the role of being a responsible human being.  They know their job must include a high level of responsibility.  Thank God they are responsible in character.  They are saving lives.  They are bringing unfortunate closure to lives (finding the deceased and notifying families).  They are responsible.

The amount of folks that tragically died, especially in a time when we have so many devices to help communicate.  Thus far, as of November 18, 2018 at 6:57am, most of the people who died are elderly / retired.  It is deeply saddening to think these people died alone.  It is deeply saddening the pain their families are going to endure.  We need to re-think the idea of the LACK OF IMPORTANCE of family being close – PHYSICALLY CLOSE – to one another!  Personal note:  a sister of mine and I have done what we can do, up to today, to get out mom and sister closer to us.  Not working.  But I know why.  Because, we have been a transient family.  We never had generations living ten or fifteen minutes away.  We don’t see the importance of being close to one another.  Well, the fire reminds me that if I had my elderly mom closer to me, I would have more access to fulfilling my role as her son.

Not wanting to hold people responsible.  Yes, not holding people responsible is a response to the fires.  We get “bullied” / “manipulated” into “don’t finger point. Now, is not the time for finger pointing” … You are shamed for saying, “Governor Brown (in this case), you are partly to blame for this tragedy.”  When blaming Governor Brown, I am accused of making this political when all I am doing is saying, “Governor Brown, you are partly to blame for this tragedy.”  I didn’t attach his POLITICAL PARTY to the statement.  But there will be those who will literally shout:  YOU DID!!  As soon as “you” do this (hold leaders responsible), you are a bad person. You lack understanding. Compassion.  What?  Really? Silly.

Just in 2017, there were over a million acres burned attributed to 9,133 fires. Just in 2017!  And who is elected for governor in 2018?  A Democratic Party member.  When a Democratic Party member is elected, we have been blinded to the lack of leadership in this area.  Climate change (DISCLAIMER: not a big believer in climate change.  I am a big believer of if climate change is important to you… why the fires?  Why not make the adjustments needed to protect your citizens from climate change?)  Yet,we have a governor BLAMING climate change for the first?!  HE DOES!  I don’t blame the grass for growing out of control.  I blame me for not getting a lawn mower or me not using the lawn mower!  I am responsible for maintaining my lawn, not the lawn or the lawn mower.

The fires remind me how important responsibility is.  How rich responsibility is.  It is time to see THE AGE OF RESPONSIBILITY make its “ugly” return.  You should hear all the blame shifting we allow on high school campuses.  There is always a reason for a person failing (anxiety / depression / dietary / and …  / and…) for poor performance or poor behavior.  It’s rarely irresponsibility.  Your irresponsibility is not due to “your” crappy decisions.  Nope.  In the case of the “Camp” fire, it’s climate change.  Listen to Governor Brown’s first responses to the “reason” for the “Camp” fire, it’s climate change.

At an early age and continue through our “eighteen-years-of-being-responsible-as-their-parent,” we need to make responsibility one of the KEY POINTS TO SUCCESS OR FAILURE!  Yet, how do we teach responsibility when we – THE ADULTS WORKING WITH CHILDREN – won’t hold ourselves and others responsible?  If you are unable to / cannot feed your children, you are responsible.  If you can provide food for your children, you are responsible.  If you have a divorce, you are responsible.  If you can keep your marriage until death do you apart, you are responsible.  * “No fault” divorce could be changed to “no responsibility” divorce.  Neither one of you is responsible for the divorce.  Now, how does it sound / feel to hear “No Responsibility” Divorce?

Back to the children… The difference between can’t and won’t.  Say, “I can’t do my homework.”  Now, say, “I won’t do my homework.”  Very different feelings.  If your children are not turning in their homework, you are responsible.  If your children are turning in their homework, you are responsible.

Often, I say to my students, “I am as much responsible for you earning an “A” as I am for you getting an “F.” NONE!  I am responsible for teaching you the subject.  You are responsible for the result.  I will never be responsible for your success and, therefore, I will never be responsible for your failure.  I will do all I can to help you succeed, but you will succeed or fail.  I want you to succeed.  I will work my butt off to help you succeed.  You (my student) need to also want to work your butt off to succeed.  My goal is for you to succeed.  Is that your (my student) goal?  You’re failing therefore  I don’t think so.  If you are failing, you need to accept the responsibility.  You accept the responsibility for your successes.  Don’t you?  Be real.”

And yes, there will be those classes and those teachers that just don’t work for you.  Take the responsibility and say, “I just didn’t get it.  Others did and I didn’t.  It just wasn’t the right fit for me.  Obviously, that teacher or that class works for others.”  That — is accepting responsibility.  I equate that healthy attitude for me and church.  I never call for the resignation of the pastor or elders when I don’t get what they are “serving.”  I simply walk away and accept the responsibility that it was me.  I didn’t get it.  And me not getting it doesn’t mean I am wrong or I am bad.  It just wasn’t meant to te.  Obviously, there are many who do get that church and its leadership.  AND YOU KNOW WHAT?  Good.  I want them to have a place where they “get it.”  DAAAAAAAMN!!!  I will find my place.  Thank you very much.  I will accept… HERE YA GO…. I will accept the responsibility to find that place.  TA-DAH!!!

You are not ONLY responsible when things are going well.  You know?

And yes, being hit by are car as you are at a stoplight is “fate” – not a sign of being irresponsible.

And yes, being diagnosed with ALS or CANCER or MS is “fate” – not a sign of being irresponsible.

And yes, having a child with special needs is “fate” – not a sign of being irresponsible.

And yes, your response to being hit by a car or your response to being diagnosed with something fatal or your response to being told your child is blind… your response is your level of responsibility.  Able to respond – responsibility.  Your opportunity to show others how to respond is a powerful legacy to leave.  You choose how to respond.  PROFOUND!

I would like to end my rant and frustration with this…   The fires need to be “THE” lesson of being responsible, as well as, being irresponsible.  The firefighters / first responders, as well as, the volunteers’ responses to the fire and FIRES are such strong symbols of the utmost level of responsibility.  I look forward to THE AGE OF RESPONSIBILITY.