Meanings: Fault vs. Responsibility

September 29, 2011

What’s the difference between finding fault and taking responsibility? According to Rick Ackerly, “Fault looks back, and responsibility looks forward.”  He’s talking about how to think about the parent-teacher relationship in k-12 education.

He adds, “Taking responsibility for a relationship means having the attitude: “Sure, it takes two to tango. Sure, our relationship is a 50-50 relationship, but I am going to make it work. I take responsibility—full responsibility—100%-zero. I may not have caused this problem, but it is my job to do something about it. I have seen situations where the teacher is the problem, and the parent took responsibility for the relationship.”

Taking responsibility means looking at problems square in the face and trying to do something about them.  Finding fault means means sidestepping problems, laying them off on someone else.

h/t: Ellen.

About Doug Bennett

Doug Bennett is Emeritus President and Professor of Politics at Earlham College. He has a wife, Ellen, and two sons, Tommy (born 1984) and Robbie (born 2003).
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