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Wednesday, May 14, 2014

A New Twist on the Ten Commandments

I didn't know that Native Americans have their own Ten Commandments, and some research has shown a couple of variations on the list. But these 10 principles certainly are something that people of every race and religion -- or no religion at all -- can learn from. I particularly like number 10.

So few people these days are willing to take responsibility for their actions. How many times do we hear about people who have been seen committing a crime, and who may even have confessed to it, enter a plea of 'not guilty' in court? I was brought up to take responsibility for my actions and to face the consequences. I have never been arrested or charged with a crime, but I hope that if that day ever comes, I would 'fess up' to my misdeed.

Admitting responsibility for a misdeed isn't easy, but neither is denying it. This is a lesson that every child needs to learn. I have taught my daughter that actions have consequences, either good or bad, and that she has to face them. I will not bail here out. Unfortunately, it seems that too often, children today are taught the opposite lesson. Nothing is their fault. Mom and dad will fix everything. Parents are incensed if their little darlings are caught doing something wrong. And many adults have the same attitude.

Take, for example, the guy in San Francisco attempting to burglarize a business. He fell through the skylight and was seriously injured. What did he do in response? He sued the building owners. Or the man who was electrocuted and killed while attempting to steal copper from a building? His family sued the owners of the building. Or the person who drunkenly killed three people by slamming into their stopped SUV at 70 mph, then sued the victims' family for medical bills and 'medical anguish'. When the victims' families sued the driver for their medical bills and mental anguish, they found that he had sold his assets to his parents a few weeks after the accident. Or my personal favorite: A Texas teenager from a wealthy family got no jail time for killing four pedestrians while driving drunk got probation because a psychologist testified that the boy has 'affluenza' and therefore believes he is immune from punishment.

The bottom line of these Ten Commandments, as with the original version, is to treat others, including the Earth, with respect. Own up to your mistakes. Don't be greedy. Be honest. Help those less fortunate. It usually takes very little time and effort to do the right thing. I believe that people who do the right thing are happier than those who think only about themselves, and I know our world would be a much nicer place if more people lived by these precepts.