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Quotations about
Responsibility, Duty, Accountability

The two most empowering words in the English language are:  I choose. ~Author unknown

The one thing I would guess about the Lord of Judgment is that He probably won't blame your parents. ~Robert Brault,

"I must do something" always solves more problems than "Something must be done." ~Author unknown

If you mess up, 'fess up. ~Author unknown

Well, you know what they say:  With great power comes boring responsibilities. ~The Resident, "Last Shot," 2020, written by Marc Halsey  [S3, E15, Devon Pravesh]

RESPONSIBILITY, n.  A detachable burden easily shifted to the shoulders of God, Fate, Fortune, Luck or one's neighbor. In the days of astrology it was customary to unload it upon a star. ~Ambrose Bierce

The majority rule is excellent for government, but it doesn't work well in mental institutions, prisons, or families with two or more children. Adolescents not only need discipline but they want it. When children call the signals and run the family they get the impression their parents are imbeciles. Kids who do as they please are not happy, they are confused. The best way to keep your children's feet on the ground is to put some responsibility on their shoulders. ~Ann Landers, 1968

...character — the willingness to accept responsibility for one's own life — is the source from which self-respect springs. ~Joan Didion, "On Self-Respect," 1961

At some point you just have to let heredity and environment debate themselves while you go off and shape your own life. ~Robert Brault,

Let every man sweep in front of his own door and the whole world will be clean. ~Author unknown

A new position of responsibility will usually show a man to be a far stronger creature than was supposed. ~William James

Few things help an individual more than to place responsibility upon him, and to let him know that you trust him. ~Booker T. Washington, Up From Slavery, 1901

Put on your big girl panties and deal with it. ~Author Unknown

      The problem of our youth is not youth. The problem is the spirit of our age... What youth needs is a sense of significant being, a sense of reverence for the society to which we all belong... Demands which were made of the individual in earlier periods are now considered oppressive. Self-discipline is obsolescent, self-denial unhygienic, metaphysical problems irrelevant. The terms of reference are emotional release and suppression, with little regard for remorse and responsibility...
      Basic to man's existence is a sense of indebtedness... to society... to God. What is emerging in our age is a strange inversion. Modern man believes that the world is indebted to him... His standard and preoccupation: What will I get out of life? Suppressed is the question: What will life, what will society get out of me?...
      The basic issue is how young people can be imbued with a proper sense of responsibility in an affluent society... There is no sense of responsibility without reverence for the sublime in human existence, without a sense of dignity... without an awareness of the transcendence of living. ~Abraham J. Heschel, "Essay on Youth," 1960

The ultimate folly is to think that something crucial to your welfare is being taken care of for you. ~Robert Brault,

We all participate in weaving the social fabric; we should therefore all participate in patching the fabric when it develops holes... ~Anne C. Weisberg and Carol A. Buckler

How often must I tell you that we are made wise not by the recollections of our past, but by the responsibilities of our future. ~Bernard Shaw

Never point a finger where you never lent a hand. ~Robert Brault,

...a man sooner or later discovers that he is the master-gardener of his soul, the director of his life. ~James Allen, "Effect of Thought on Circumstances," As a Man Thinketh, 1908

"It's a question of discipline," the little prince told me later on. "When you've finished washing and dressing each morning, you must tend your planet." ~Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, The Little Prince, 1943, translated from French by Richard Howard

Responsibility's like a string we can only see the middle of. Both ends are out of sight. ~William McFee, Casuals of the Sea: The Voyage of a Soul, 1916

When there is hell to pay, it is usually cheaper to pay it than to finance an endless purgatory. ~Robert Brault,

With great rights come great responsibilities. To those whom much has been given, much will be asked (time, talent, and treasure). ~David C. Hill,

ENVIRONMENT  The cause of all the faults you have been unable to shove off on Heredity. ~Charles Wayland Towne, The Altogether New Foolish Dictionary, by Gideon Wurdz, 1914

Oh, duty is what one expects from others, it is not what one does one's self. ~Oscar Wilde

You can awaken each day to obligations you never chose — or you can decide now to choose them. ~Robert Brault,

God has made it easy to reach boys in their early adolescent years if a hard enough and noble enough program is placed before them. Boys do not like to do easy things. There is no fun in jumping over a two-foot ditch. Boys like to do hard things... To shield a boy from hard work, from self-sacrifice, is the temptation into which indulgent parents most easily fall. Self-sacrifice is the law of life. ~Edgar M. Robinson, "The Necessity of Developing the Altruistic in Adolescent Boys," 1910

Where is Heaven located? At the post of Duty, forevermore. ~Simeon Carter (1824–1911), Poems and Aphorisms: A Woodman's Musings, 1893

When men in the choice between good and evil deliberately choose evil, they can scarcely ever bring themselves to admit that the choice was of their own free will; after trying in vain to convince themselves that it is not wicked, they disown the sin. But, before doing the evil thing, they generally say, frankly and shamelessly: "Is it my fault?" or, "I was born so!" "This is my temperament!" And so forth. The great thought, the great concern, the great anxiety of men is to restrict, as much as possible, the limits of their own responsibility. And instead they accuse heredity, disease, education, the sins of society. Finally they arrive at philosophic determinism, saying a man is not free or responsible in anything; he is less than an animal, less than a plant; he is passive matter, not autonomous, without a shadow of free will. A thousand causes may be at work within him: the climate, the seasons, temperature, diseases, deformities, physical defects, congenital maladies, external suggestions, education, circumstances, — anything, a grain of sand, a draught of liquor, certain foods, the most negligible, fortuitous, and ridiculous causes. One single cause can never influence him, and this is his free will. ~Giosuè Borsi, 1915, translated by Pasquale Maltese, 1919

I do not approve severity but I believe in the inexorable demand for responsibility at each age level of all citizens, and deprivation, if not punishment, when duty is ignored. We need to restore the full meaning of that old word, duty. It is the other side of rights. Each of us has a duty to every human being, and the proper performance of such duty is duty to one's self. ~Pearl Buck, To My Daughters, With Love, 1967

I started absorbing a lesson as valid for a cadet in a musty college drill hall as for a four-star general in the Pentagon. I learned that being in charge means making decisions, no matter how unpleasant... Long years afterward, I kept a saying under the glass on my desk at the Pentagon that made the point succinctly if inelegantly: "Being responsible sometimes means pissing people off." ~Colin Powell, "A Soldier's Life for Me," My American Journey, written with Joseph E. Persico, 1995

When others, a man begins to blame
He'll soon find himself alone,
The same.
~Nigel Bloomfield

When you blame others, you give up your power to change. ~Robert Anthony, unverified

We have not passed that subtle line between childhood and adulthood until we move from the passive voice to the active voice — that is, until we have stopped saying "It got lost," and say, "I lost it." ~Sydney J. Harris, On the Contrary, 1964

Sign over the gates of hell: "Doesn't mean you're a bad person." ~Robert Brault,

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Last saved 2022 Aug 20 Sat 19:10 PDT