Saturday Soapbox: Taking Responsibility And Owning It

Here I am feeling all mellow and inspired from my road trip only to read about this piece of litigation lunacy.

Briefly, a Victorian student (let’s call her R) is suing her former high school in Geelong for failing to provide adequate academic support to enable her to gain entry into a prestigious law school in Sydney. In addition, R’s mother is suing the school for compensation for rent and loss of income from her fortune cookie business as a result of relocating to Sydney. R claims that she never felt adequately supported academically whilst at the school to enable her to REALLY excel. R was allegedly criticised for using words that were too long in her essays which lead to R losing confidence in her essay writing abilities. This loss reportedly caused R to become “quite distressed” when her English marks began to fall.

Created by Theodore Eadman
Law School Memes

Entry into this particular law school requires a student to effectively rank in the top 0.3% of all students in the State. Places are highly sought after and the university has produced some of Australia’s greatest jurists. However, it is by no means the only law school in Sydney and certainly not the only law school in the State.

With the greatest of respect to R, she is in denial, and no… it is not that river in Egypt.  I know what R must be thinking, this must be someone’s fault, right? There has to be someone to blame, someone has to pay because R’s life plan didn’t work out to the letter?

Somehow, somewhere along the way, we as individuals seem to have lost the art of owning the consequences of our actions. The notion that we are the masters of our own destiny seems to have been usurped by a notion that our destiny is controlled by those persons and institutions with whom we have had contact, particularly those with potentially deep pockets. These persons and institutions have somehow adopted a greater responsibility to us than we have for ourselves.

I have long been concerned about the current trend to constantly reward our children for just being. When my sons were in primary school they received merit awards for “being entertaining members of the class” and “for faultless class attendance”. Whilst they also received merit awards for good behaviour and academic achievement, I found these aforementioned “token” merits disturbing. To me there was nothing meritorious about them – they served no real purpose other than to enforce a sense of entitlement. Positive enforcement is one thing, but rewards should be reserved for achievement over and above the norm (including a person’s individual norm).

There are no guarantees in life and no guarantees to entry into law school or indeed, university. Entry is handed out on academic merit and students should not feel entitled to a place. It takes hard work, persistence and sometimes a detour or two before you get to where you want to go.  And sometimes, there is just no logical reason why a person makes it or doesn’t make it. Call it bad luck, bad timing or whatever….sometimes crap happens. Crap does not necessarily justify a legal remedy.

The case continues in August.

In the meantime, I leave you with these relevant fortune cookie sayings:

The world may be your oyster but it doesn’t mean you’ll get its pearl

Skill comes from diligence

Do not mistake temptation for opportunity

None of the secrets of success will work unless you do

And remember, dear readers ….this blog has a protective coating.

Have there been any court cases that have left you scratching your head?

About the curtain raiserhttp://raisingthecurtain.netI have spent my life in offices. For now I am putting that behind me and preparing for the second act. Middle age didn't come with acceptable signposts so I am making my own through my writing. A journey shared is more fun than going it solo.

19 thoughts on “Saturday Soapbox: Taking Responsibility And Owning It

  1. The whole way through this I kept nodding my head in agreement, and my thought when I got to the end was exactly Tammy’s quote!! So I’ll just add my double “Amen sista;)”… You nailed this one!!

  2. I totally agree. We have turned into a ridiculously litigious society as a whole. I think it’s rather sad and just plain wasteful. The amount of money wasted on frivolous lawsuits is staggering. Just imagine what that money could do for a worthy cause.
    This case reminds me of a lawsuit in recent years regarding a hot coffee spill at McDonald’s. I remember shaking my head at the insanity of it. I mean come on… it’s HOT coffee. Did this person really think it would be tepid and not scald?
    At any rate, thanks for another great post! I’ll be looking for the outcome in August.

    • I heard about the Maccas hot coffee case, Wendy and agree it was ridiculous. We now have that insane situation where snacks which obviously contain peanuts come with the warning: may contain peanuts. It’s called common sense.

    • I have been following. We get the games streamed through Red Sox MLB radio over the net and watch them on ESPN. A couple of wins against the Phillies over the last couple of days … woot! Now if we can just reel in those Yankees…

  3. “The world may be your oyster but it doesn’t mean you’ll get its pearl”

    Reminds me of the Bare Naked Ladies lyric: “The world’s your oyster shell/So what’s that funny smell?/You eat the bivalve anyway, you’re sick with salmonella.” You’re right, crap happens even to the best of us. What defines us is what we do when we’re stuck with a stinking pile of dung instead of pearls. Those with character will move on, maybe choosing a different path around the pile or they’ll plop on a pair of industrial wellies and bravely walk through it. Those without character simply sue, expecting they’re entitled to whatever they want. Judging from her mom’s actions, this girl obviously never learned the truism that life just ain’t fair.


    • Lynn, I love this comment. You’re right, the mark of a person is how they deal with the crap. I saw a couple of great funny sayings on the weekend:
      – those who can do, those you can’t, sue
      – better to have sued and lost than just moved on
      – if at first you don’t succeed, sue someone.
      And yes, the nut doesn’t tend to fall far from the mother tree. I’d comment more, but the case is before the Court so I won’t. I’ll say more after the ruling has been handed down.

  4. I read about this as well and thought it was disgusting. It’s indicative of what’s happens in schools these days. Parents yell and scream at teachers because their child got bad grades instead of yelling at the child and forcing them to take responsibility. I don’t know if you’ve ever heard it but something that this reminded me of was the recording Maroochydore High School staff did on the school’s automated phone system.

    • I saw this when it came out. It’s ballsy, that’s for sure. As a mother, I have seen some terrible parental behaviour over the years including pressure being put on teachers to hand out awards to a child, screaming at sports coaches and publicly putting down other children because they had the temerity to perform better then their own little Johny. Putting others down is not going to make your child succeed – when are they going to understand this basic concept?

  5. It is sad that we facilitate this sense of entitlement rather than facilitating an understanding that in order to “get” something in this life, we must take personal responsibility for what we “give”.

    • Indeed. I’m very much a believer in you get what you give. I have seen so many examples of people not giving and then stomping their feet, crying “foul”. So much negetive energy 😦

  6. There is indeed a bizarre sense of entitlement lurking. I just read of a lawsuit where a mother was feeding her 4 year old Nutella every day and didn’t understand why the child was bouncing off the walls. Apparently, the mother felt the advertisements for Nutella made it appear healthy. She never read the LABEL that it very clear in stating the high sugar content…the mother won.

    • Makes about as much sense as those cases in the States where fast food chains were sued because people becamse obese after eating a significant quantity of fast food and claiming that they didn’t realise eating a lot of it would cause weight gain. Hello reality!

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