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Time to start owning our mistakes

Visit any basketball court in America during a pick-up game and you’ll usually hear two words — “my bad” — over and over again.

It is the universally accepted way to take ownership of a mistake and move forward. Unfortunately, this idea seems to end when you step outside the lines.

Taking personal responsibility appears to be an often-forgotten concept in our world today.

We hear pundits lament the root cause of all the negative things in our society. Drugs. Erosion of Christian values. Breakdown of the nuclear family. Hollywood. The media. The list goes on and on.

There may truth to each of these, but an overlooked element is the cold, hard fact we have become a culture of blamers.

The idea of individual responsibility has somehow been lost over the years.

Your team loses the big game? Blame the referees, the fans, the coaches. Anyone but the players.

You lose your job? Put that on your boss who was clearly out to get you.

Did your child get a bad grade at school? It was the teacher’s fault for not doing something more to make your child study or learn.

Did you make a poor decision that had a negative impact on your life? Blame your parents for not hugging you enough or hugging you too much or not buying you a pony.

Of course, the media is the easiest of targets in this blame game.

Don’t think the coverage paints the picture you want to see or didn’t serve as your personal public relations company? That’s OK. Just call it fake news and everything will be fine.

Did you end up in the newspaper after being charged with a crime? Ignore the actions that created the situation in the first place and manufacture reasons why you either were — or should have been — given special treatment one way or another.

Did you say something that you shouldn’t have? No problem. Just tell everyone you were misquoted. Who cares if the audio tells a different story. Shame on the reporter for printing the words you said rather than the ones you meant.

However, in the spirit of the idea of accepting responsibility, that doesn’t mean the media is perfect or never makes mistakes. Every media organization can improve and do simply do better. In fact, we have to hold ourselves to higher standards than ever before.

I’m not sure there is a “magic bullet” solution to this problem, but we absolutely still can reverse course and get people to start accepting responsibility for their own actions.

How? It starts with educating today’s youth and making a personal vow to own our mistakes.

Why haven’t we done this before? Well, because it’s hard work. It takes an unwavering commitment to doing the right thing on time, every time, even at personal expense. It also means we have to check our egos.

Now is the time to stop pointing fingers and start looking in the mirror.

Michael Caldwell is interim publisher of The Advocate-Messenger and Danville Living magazine. He can be reached at (859) 469-6400 or by email at mike.caldwell@centralkynews.com.