"What the heck is all of this?"
These are often the first words out of my mouth on any given morning. When or if I retire before the rest of my family, I often walk into what looks like a war zone in the morning. Books, clothes, games and toys seem blasted from a canon into the living room.
I often describe my life as a mother of seven children (ages 9 to 18) as one part "Cosby" show and two parts "Roseanne," topped off with some bizarre reality TV. My house could be clean--if fairies came in the night--but it probably won't be.
Any adult with children knows how that conversation goes: "I didn't do it," "It wasn't me" or best, yet, "I wasn't even here." Everyone did something, though, and all the somethings result in massive destruction.
This is when the family needs to go from a conversation about who is to blame to collective accountability--not because who did what doesn't matter. It does, but in terms of how to fix or clean up the mess, assigning blame really does little good. I don't care so much who did what, I simply want a clean house. Every child in my house is in charge of a room and taking care of his or her own property. It is easy: Get what belongs to you, and do the jobs assigned to you so that the house as a whole benefits.
As we move forward as a city and a state, it's time we discussed the difference between blame and accountability. While it's good to know how and who did what so that we don't keep making the same mistakes, it is not constructive for us to get so trapped in the cycle of placing blame that we do not hold our leaders accountable for fixing what's wrong and planning realistically.
Instead, let's see who is being accountable in government: Who is moving forward, and who's fixing past mistakes? Who is building on what's right, and who is creating new opportunities? That is how we'll build our city and state.
Blame has its place, but so does accountability. Ultimately, our government officials are accountable for their own actions and for each other's actions. That is how it is, so let's work together and clean our house.