The Privilege of Responsibility
Human nature is such that we often seek privileges but try to avoid responsibilities. However, privileges and responsibilities are connected so that an increase in privilege frequently brings with it new levels of responsibility...
Life consists of privileges and responsibilities. A privilege is a special benefit granted to an individual while a responsibility is an obligation such as for fulfilling a duty or completing a task. Human nature is such that we often seek privileges but try to avoid responsibilities. However, privileges and responsibilities are connected so that an increase in privilege frequently brings with it new levels of responsibility
For many of us there was a time in life when the difference between a privilege and a responsibility was not so clear-cut.
Gertrude Muller-Nelson in her book, To Dance with God, tells of a special birthday tradition in her family. On each birthday the children would be given two envelopes: one contained a new privilege and the other a new responsibility.
For a young child, the privilege -- often an increase in freedom -- might mean being allowed to venture further from home by spending the night with a friend or to ride the bike without quite as much supervision. A new responsibility could be to take out the trash or to scrub the bathroom sink. Muller-Nelson tells of how on the Saturday chore day after her daughter's sixth birthday the young girl came running to her proclaiming in a huff, "Somebody already scrubbed the sink, and it was my privilege."
What would happen if we all adopted such an attitude and began looking at responsibilities as privileges? It might give us more enthusiasm for the tasks we face and could be enlivening, not only for us but also for the people around us. We might once again look forward to new responsibility and strive to get it. It is not so unusual. Recall your eagerness to get the responsibility/privilege of driving a car or perhaps your excitement at the prospect of the responsibility/privilege of marriage or of childbirth.
The problem with the promise of responsibility/privilege is that, with time, the newness of privilege wears off. Then, all we see is responsibility, which can begin to look a lot like drudgery. What was once exciting becomes routine and dull.
One of the challenges of life is in recapturing the empowerment that comes from the blending of responsibility and privilege. If you can do so, you'll discover that you not only get more accomplished through responsibility, but that you also have more fun.
Learn to find the privileges in your responsibilities, and see if you can make your life go better.