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Sept. 2005 Character Quality - Responsibility
The following editorial article was written by Gloria Cooper for publication in The Paris News --
  “The British are coming, the British are coming!”  That cry resounded “through every
Middlesex village and farm” till every man, at the ready, heard the alarm and rose to arms.  Paul
Revere, nearly an unknown silversmith, became a hero overnight because of his remarkable
sense of duty to God and to his country.  He knew the meaning of responsibility and he proved
that he understood it as well.  This was not built in him in one night, but he learned it every day.  
Perhaps when he was younger, he had small responsibilities, and as he learned to fulfill them,
he unknowingly was building this within himself so when duty called, he responded and fulfilled it.
Being responsible is knowing and doing what is expected of me.  We have a responsibility of
some sort every day.  These are some of the ways that we can demonstrate this quality. Know
and do your duty.  Always keep a promise or commitment to someone, no matter what it may
cost you.  If you cannot keep it, then do not make it.  Never make excuses for neglect of duty.  
Set high standards for yourself and try to attain to them.  “Anything worth doing is worth doing

  Being responsible is not just doing what we say we would do, but doing what we know we
should do.  Pearl S. Buck said, “We need to restore the full meaning of that old word, duty.  It is
the other side of rights.”  For following basic procedures and doing our jobs, we get many
benefits.  People can count on us and to not only be faithful with the small things, but be faithful
with the big things as well.  As we build a reputation of reliability, opportunities arise.  However,
with new opportunities and more trust comes greater responsibility.  Someone once said, “The
more responsible I am, the more freedom I will be given; the more freedom I am given, the more
responsible I must be.

  Even though others may trust us with large assets, we must remain humble and not think more
highly of our selves than we ought.  If you are praised for a job well done, deflect the praise to
those who have helped you in your work.  If it is your job to alert someone to a problem, do it as
gently as you can, and then offer your assistance to help them correct it.  When a project is
given to someone else let them take care of the job.  It is not your responsibility to take the
assignment into your own hands.

  A very important step in building responsibility is to never shift the project/blame/duty to
another person.  When a job gets hard, keep on pushing through until you finish it.  You will feel
a great sense of accomplishment.  Sydney Harris says, “We have not passed that subtle line
between childhood and adulthood…until we have stopped saying, ‘It got lost,’ and say, ‘I lost it.’”
And the venerable General George Patton says, “If I do my full duty, “then the rest will take care
of itself.”
Portions of this article have been adapted from Character First! materials.  Visit the Character Council of Red
River Valley at For more information about the Character First! program and
resources contact:  
Character Training Institute, 520 W. Main Street, Oklahoma City, OK  73102,  (405) 815-0001
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