The Australian prank which seems to be tied into a suicide of a nurse has brought up some vital questions about responsibility in our society.
Many who have heard the news stories can’t help but wonder where the buck stops. People feel sorry for both the victims and the perpetrators. My heart goes out to all involved. Sometimes there is so much data about who did what that it is hard to find the sense in it.
However, as I reflect on all the facts so far, I have to add that responsibility, as opposed to just blame, is the real issue. Who is going to take responsibility to fill the dreadful gap left for the two motherless girls?
There may be question as to whether the prank was the only factor responsible for the nurse’s death. Perhaps that will come out, and perhaps not. Looking at it another way, the tipping point may be more important to consider than exact blame.
On careful analysis we may find that acceptance of behaviors which include pranks may just be a form of bullying for grownups. There is no doubt that much of politics, reality as well as other television, and even at times the media has included taunting at the expense of common courtesy as an everyday practice.
I think of the way we each treat others as ‘seeds in the snow’ which we continue planting each day of our lives. We are not always privy to the backstory of the events in the lives of people whose lives we touch.
One wonders if behaviors such as the prank may have acted as a tipping point in the life of the nurse. We may never know.
I do know that at a low point in my life a janitor in the gas station where I picked up my morning coffee on the way to work took the time to be kind to me each day. That was a tipping point in my life, although the old man never knew what a wonderful difference he made in my life.
What I do hope we as a society might learn from this is that many people are living at the tipping point of life. Therefore individual actions are each important, and all the palaver about blame misses the point. We are all and each responsible for our fellow travelers.
Maybe the real lesson here is for everyone. It may be time to take a piercing look at how we as Western society views our individual culpability in our daily actions. Perhaps instead of only trying to discern blame, we could consider how many ways we can each be responsible–for our own lives and for those around us.
May we all go into the new year with tender good wishes for all the lives touched by the thoughtless prank. May we each consider even our small actions as possible tipping points in the lives of others around us. May we plant seeds in the snow that we would be proud to grow.
Copyright by Hildra Tague. Obtain permission to use this meditative reflection online or in print.