How are you responsible?

We pay our bills. Our kids have shoes on their feet. There is food on the table. Our deadlines are met at work. We make sure that our garbage gets taken out every week. We are responsible.

But is that all there is to our “responsibilities?”

What is owed The Collective? Where does our responsibility to ourselves end and our responsibilities to each other begin?

“Sometimes I want to ask God why He allows poverty, famine and injustice in the world when He could do something about it, but I’m afraid He might just ask me the same question.” ~ Unknown

I posted this photo to my personal facebook updates one Saturday evening. Within minutes, it had received multiple “likes” and had been shared by many others within not only facebook, but across other social networks.

The original picture had been “liked” almost 400 times and shared an additional 385 times at the time of this writing. Clearly, this message resonates with people.

Without getting too entangled in the theological underpinnings of the statement, I’d like to think that it has this sort of impact because it is TRUE.

Each of us understands that we have the capacity, however small, to make a positive impact in someone else’s life. …to lessen another’s pain or to help shoulder another’s burden. Whether we do so or not? Well, that’s why the quote hits us where we live. More often than not, we don’t as much as we could.

Are we “our brother’s keeper?” …or is it “every man for himself?”

Yes. …And sometimes, yes. It’s the negotiation of those two statements and the navigation of the grey areas between that consumes our lives as we make our way through this earthly journey. In terms of its relevance to how it relates to “Independent Ideas,” my interpretation is that we, and we alone, are responsible for our individual actions toward our fellow human beings.

Further, at the risk of committing blasphemy, it is my understanding, therefore, that we are to serve as best we can in the role of “God” in the above quote.

“If it’s to be, it’s up to me.” ~ Anonymous

I think we sometimes get hung up on doing (or not doing) “something” because we can’t do everything. We underestimate our own strength or we feel as though our gesture is too small. I am not Bill Gates; nor am I Warren Buffett. I don’t have billions of dollars at my disposal to invest in my fellow human beings.

However, I do what I can with what I have, where I am (which, speaking on a scale of ratios, is 100% otherwise known as “everything,” by the way). This being said, when we give, we give best when we do so from a position of strength. By illustration, to paraphrase the disciple Luke, who said, “If you have two coats and you see someone without one, give him one of yours.” He did not say, rip your coat in two so that you each have half a coat and are both still freezing.

To satisfy the “every man for himself” portion of the analogy cited previously, in order to give from a position of strength, you must consider your own health/welfare first. In order to help someone on the plane in the event of a crash, you must use your own oxygen mask before helping another.

Also, speaking from the perspective of learned experiences, you cannot share with another what you have not internalized yourself. You must grow as a person before you can share your wisdom with others.

“We have met the enemy and he is us.” ~ Walt Kelly via Pogo

This underscores our collective responsibility to each other. Just as we are “the enemy,” we are also each other’s salvation. The balance hinges upon our individual choices that we make each day. What will you choose?

How do your actions develop your independence while contributing to the whole?


Molly Cantrell-Kraig is a woman with drive. Possessing an innate sense of purpose and a pragmatic, solution-based approach to empowering people, she fused these two traits in order to establish Women With Drive Foundation. Based upon its founder’s personal history, Women With Drive Foundation is a means through which Cantrell-Kraig may effect change on both a micro and macro level. By providing women with something as essential as personal transportation in order to transition them from poverty to prosperity, she, through Women With Drive Foundation, seeks to empower women to help them help themselves. Through this action, the individual applicant benefits, as does society as a whole. Follow Molly on twitter as @mckra1g or @WWDr1ve (Women With Drive Foundation) or “Like” them on facebook.


    • molly says

      Thanks Ryan! Accountability is fuel for our life, but understanding our interdependence is also a strength. I appreciate the time you took to comment! Best, M. :)

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