A Great Definition of Personal Responsibility

W  hile editing, I just read this excerpt from Dr. Frank Thomas’ manuscript for American Dream 2.0: A Christian Way Out of the Great Recession, due for publication in August, 2012. He elegantly captures an essential character trait I hope to teach my children.

Personal capital is closely related to personal responsibility, when personal responsibility is defined as a person’s “response-ability,” that is, the ability of a person to maturely respond to the various challenges and circumstances of life. Personal capital is also closely connected with character, when character is defined as a person’s moral or ethical quality, and the character of a person gives them advantages to respond to the challenges of life. Personal capital, then, is the inner resources, assets, and advantages of personal responsibility and character that one brings to the challenges and circumstances of life. When personal capital is low, a person is a victim of circumstances, at the effect of life and not able to consciously and purposefully choose his or her own thoughts, feelings and actions. Victims typically identify themselves based upon attributes of powerlessness, dependency, entitlement, apathy, worry, fear, self-doubt, and the like. The victim lives at the effect of what happens around them and has little personal capital to, in response to the challenges of life, choose and direct life’s direction and destiny.


About the Author

Len Wilson

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Christ follower. Storyteller. Strategist. Writer. Creative Director @peachtreepres. Tickle monster. Think Like a Five Year Old (Abingdon, 2015).

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6 Comments on “A Great Definition of Personal Responsibility”

  1. God is dead

    Words from a man who works in a church are as meaningless as the words spoken in that church. I discount anything said by anybody who is foolish enough to believe in god. How can anybody take you seriously when you believe in fairy tales?

    1. Sophia

      You apparently have never allowed yourself to know God in his truest sense. Try it! You may like it!

    2. matt

      i am a believer in Jesus Christ and it offends me that you would say something like this and and how was the world created by two atoms going through space and having a big bang? no and if that not how you think it happened then enlighten me how it happened. And anything you try to come back with how the earth was created what created the things that created the earth what and how where those things made, and how were those things that created those things created.

  2. Brad McCaul

    God may be dead, but you and I are still defined by how we exercise our response-ability. The defining characteristic of being human is our freedom of response-ability. It is said that when Buddha was first enlightened he was asked, “Are you a God?”
    “No,” he replied. “Are you a saint?” “No.” “Then what are you?” And he answered, “I am awake.” Whether God exists-or does not exist, Whether you like apple pie or you don’t, everyday in every way, life asks each of us a question, are you awake? To be awake is to be aware that I am defined not by what happens to me, but rather by how I respond to what happens to me.

    1. Tee Tirado

      Agreed “To be awake is to be aware that I am defined not by what happens to me, but rather by how I respond to what happens to me.”

  3. Tee Tirado

    Hmmm! Great word, one that I personally think is misunderstood Greatly and in my opinion, even the dictionaries have it twisted! The root word is RESPONSE here’s merriam-webster definition http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/response?show=0&t=1391014010 and the suffix is ability http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/ability so the word responsibility is simply the ability to response! For example, one receives a bill in the mail, there are numerous ways one can RESPONSE; 1. pay the bill immediately (most would say this is the the “RESPONSIBLE” things to do!) there goes that word again! 2. pay the bill late, 3. not pay the bill, 4 pay part of the bill, 5. Ask someone else to pay the bill, can you relate/feel/see/hear where I’m going with?, I’m sure you can come up with a few responses of your own! Am just saying!!! How one responses, may create a judgement of QUALITY or STATE based on the observer’s perception! hmm, what are your thoughts?

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