Pass along to future generations ‘the fourth R’

“Healthy Living” by Carl Hendrickson
For the Call

As senior citizens, we have failed to pass along “the fourth R.”
A week before my dental appointment, I received a card in the mail reminding me of my appointment. The day before, I received a reminder by telephone. Similarly with my doctors.
All this takes time by their staff and is all calculated in the cost of the service.
I don’t need these reminders — I have marked each appointment in my calendar.
But others must not. Thus the need for reminders. I do not believe that we seniors are lacking in responsibility. We have just failed to pass responsibility along to our children and our grandchildren.
Nathan Hale was only 21 when the hangman’s noose was tied around his neck.
Perhaps he could have saved his life by blaming his superiors. I am sure he loved life as much as anyone, but he accepted responsibility, stood accountable and did not beg that his life be spared.
His final words have echoed down the corridors of time to us today, “I only regret that I have but one life to give for my country.”
Nathan Hale was a teacher. I like to think that besides the basic three “R’s,” he taught his students a fourth “R” — responsibility. Unfortunately, this sense of responsibility is lacking today.
Where are the individuals who will balance the budget, reduce the deficit, make the streets safe for honest citizens to walk, provide a job for every able-bodied citizen and break the vicious cycle of poverty and welfare? Where are the individuals who will even bother to vote in school board or fire protection board elections?
Where are the individuals who will mark their calendar so that time and money are not expended to constantly remind of an upcoming appointment?
It has been 241 years since 56 brave men signed the Declaration of Independence to give to us a free nation based on the proposition that ordinary men and women would assume responsibility — that neither king nor queen was needed to assume responsibility for the governance of a great nation.
But we are failing.
We seniors, as parents, educators and business, community and government leaders, have neglected the teaching of responsibility. We may have it, but we have failed to pass it along to the next generation.
Yes, I bear my share.
Responsibility is a habit. It requires discipline.
Responsible individuals do not wait for results, they obtain them. Responsible individuals respond, “Yes, me,” not “Who, me?” when it is time to step forward.
Every senior reading this column must teach children and grandchildren by word, practice and example to be responsible citizens.
Our achievements have been obtained because one did not worry about popular opinion or who would obtain the credit. We took responsibility for obtaining a result.
Pass along to future generations “the fourth R.”