Thursday, January 18, 2007


I struggle with where to draw the line with responsibility -- where something is my responsibility and how far that obligation goes, but also I struggle with when I need to let others take responsibility. I struggle even more with what I call respondability. I swear that the organizers in every group I belong to have my number on speed dial. See, I have a hard time saying NO to requests, especially from casual friends, committee members, and teachers. I think I heard Oprah once call it the "Disease to Please".

If that is a disease, I definitely have a chronic case.

Take today for instance. I work once a week with the lunch program at my daughters private school. They don't have cafeteria workers, so if the parents don't volunteer, the hot lunch program will collapse. Most folks volunteer once a month, some volunteer twice a month. Me? I do it every week. Why? I saw that no one yet was working on Tuesday, so I offered without thinking. I like the job even though it can be hard work. I get to interact with a lot of the school I would never see otherwise. I also get to meet other parents and we usually have a ball for the three hours we are there.

I just got back from a lunch shift. Today you say? Today wasn't Tuesday, but the coordinator called me 15 minutes before lunchtime to see if I could substitute for a no-show. I was half way across town and not dressed for Lunch Duty so I said ... "Sure! No problem."

Sigh ... I give good respondability, so I get these kinds of calls more often than most.

Funny thing was, I got to school and my dear friend, Jeanette, was there. She is a Tuesday lunch lady. I work with her twice a month and she is one of my favorites. I see her and I say, "What are you doing here, Lady? Did you answer the SOS?" She looked at me, shook her head then grinned, "Yeah, I couldn't bear to think of no one here to serve lunch. My responsibility gene just wouldn't let me ignore the message." I laughed and agreed and then she said, "We might get taken advantage of because folks know we are the responsible kind, but I guess it is better than folks not knowing they can count on us."

I couldn't have said it better myself.


Rachel Jaye Brenner said...

Though I wish you best of luck in getting to be more comfortable with saying "no" when it's necessary (and finding out when that is), I must tell you that your selflessness inspires me.

Annie-go-lightly said...

Love you, Miss Rachel. :-)