A duty dodged is like a debt unpaid; it is only deferred, and we must come back and settle the account at last. ~ Joseph Fort Newton
The New Year may have just begun, but as for you and I, we will continue sharing our literary worlds. Buckle up. Let’s Get Talking.
Highs and lows on one hand, sweat, giving up and discipline on the other. One minute excitement, the next lack of it. Eating well, working out. Trying being key. Consistency a must. Struggles all through. That’s how my healthy living journey has become. Something, I must say.
And that’s where my friend Magz comes in. A lady on fire, disciplined in matters pertaining to health. She’s the kind that heads to the gym every morning, at times working out up to three hours. You have to admire her consistency. The kind I just had to have hold me accountable on this journey.
This lady keeps tabs on me. “Have you done your exercises for the day?” “How is your diet?” “You do realize I’ll keep telling you when you go wrong.” It’s definitely out of love. However, the truth when I fail to do what I ought to do can be, well, painful. Nevertheless, I’m on a mission, and I need to achieve my goal. So I have handed her the meddling rights.
You see, having an accountability partner is important. This is a person who coaches another in terms of helping that person keep a commitment. These commitments range from holding certain values, living in purity, staying faithful, or doing work or business, in a proper or ethical manner. From a Christian perspective, it will be someone who can pray with you and help share the burdens as you face temptations or challenges.
It’s not easy having one. How do you allow credible people to step in and hold you accountable for your actions or where you need to improve your life? How do you allow these people in areas that you shun many for various reasons, be it for shame, fear of failing or even fear of people seeing you as you really are? How do you even measure their credibility?
Being in an exciting and genuine Bible study fellowship, I have been part of real conversations with real people. Like one, a few days ago, which brought out an observation from the men that it’s getting harder for men in their mid 30s to 40s to find good examples of older men to emulate. Trustworthy, reliable, dependable mentors.
The men were, however, challenged by the ladies to be, they themselves, great examples to other younger men, to be honorable men that can be looked up to. It means to be intentional and accessible, to be honest and authentic. To be available and open. To make themselves the accountability partners so that that cycle of lack of mentors can end.
But accountability is not just in our personal lives. It has a bigger impact in the world we live in, especially when it involves power and money. Lord Acton, a British historian and moralist, stated, ‘Power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Great men are almost always bad men.’ The meaning or logic behind that statement is that, as a person’s power increases, their morality diminishes. Picture that for a moment.
Such power and wealth can be seen in the state of our political and religious circles. The leaders have made major headlines for all the wrong reasons. Look at corruption, it’s so ingrained in our society it’s become part of our modus operandi. Check the newspaper headlines, they depict, many a times, a dismal and hopeless picture. It’s easy to see why our leaders have reached such a place.
Lack of accountability.
They know they will get away with what they do. After all, who can question them when our moral fibre is in question? We idolize them. It gets into their heads. We call the pastors ‘Mum and Dad’ in our congregations, yet, probably, we don’t call our own parents with such vigor, respect and adoration.
What’s the intention? Have we reached that point whereby we idolize our leaders so much that nothing can possibly shock anyone anymore? Do our political leaders understand that they are answerable to the people who elected them into those positions? Do our leaders in institutions appreciate that they have a call of duty to a number of stakeholders? Do our religious leaders recognize that they are accountable to those they lead in various congregations?
It is easy, I know, to point fingers at other people’s mistakes and not accept our own faults. Our leaders are a reflection of us, the society. We need to play our part as expected, whether as employees, business men and women, parents, friends, citizens or even believers. We need to hold them accountable, we need to start walking with people who can hold us to account for our actions. Why?
Accountability is very crucial. On both sides. It shows us our expectations, it tells us how we measure our milestones, our targets. It provides us with checks and balances, it gives us good feedback on our progress. And even by having difficult discussions and followups with regards to our goals, it helps us to stay on the right path.
Accountability is for us all. As the Bible says, ‘Each of us will give an account of ourselves to God.’ (Romans 14.12).
Accountability breeds response-ability. ~ Stephen R. Covey