–George Washington, 1st president of the U.S.
What would call for an excuse? That would depend on the person and the activity involved. Promising to complete a task and not doing so would call for an excuse to explain why you didn’t fulfill your promise. Conversely, an excuse would be needed if you did something you shouldn’t have and you were asked why you did that.
What would constitute a bad excuse? You know, I think a bad excuse for one’s behavior would be to place the blame for your actions on something or someone else: "It's not my fault." "I didn't do it."
Some people refer to this kind of excuse as the blame game. I’ve heard discussion on this blame game, going back to the Garden of Eden: When asked why she ate the fruit, Eve blamed it on the serpent. Adam blamed his tasting the fruit on the woman God gave him.
U.S. President Harry S. Truman said “The buck stops here.” That referred to the fact that the President has to make the decisions and accept the ultimate responsibility for those decisions. Partisan politics aside, Mr. Truman faced his responsibility without trying to blame others or assign blame where it didn’t belong.
Placing blame on another brings about discussion of accountability—people’s accountability for their own actions. It seems so easy nowadays for individuals to shun personal responsibility for their behavior. Many times they do so by offering bad excuses—weak and far-fetched excuses.
Maybe if we stopped using the word excuse and instead used the word reason, playing the blame game would be eliminated. A problem could be better approached if we would give good and plausible reasons instead of bad, lame excuses.
As long as we play the blame game and have no accountability, we’ll have weak links in the chain of our lives. In Western stories, telling someone to own up to their responsibilities and commitments is said by cowboy up. It’s time for all of us to cowboy up and stop offering bad excuses for our conduct.
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Thanks for reading my blog! My next novel in the West Virginia Mountains Series is titled Promise Me. Look for it this spring.