Monday, December 26, 2016


Pedro visited his daughter’s primary school for the quarterly interaction between parent and teacher. The teacher was pointing out that the child was speaking incorrect English. She diagnosed the problem occurrence due to speaking the local language at home. She recommended that the parents speak English at home in conversations with the child.

As they continued the interactions on other aspects of the child’s progress, the teacher noticed Pedro’s grammatical errors while speaking in English. When she sternly pointed out that Pedro’s English was ‘atrociously’ flawed, Pedro calmly asked the teacher, ‘so, do you still recommend that I speak in English at home?’

Obviously, the teacher was putting unnecessarily high expectations of performance from a young child. It is pertinent to note that she was also transferring the onus to the parent of her responsibility of teaching. These are harsh realities of the education system but apply to other disciplines as well.

So often, so many of us are like that teacher… making a wrong diagnosis and prescribing a seemingly logical but effectively silly solution. We set high expectations of performance and when not met we shift the onus of solution to someone else. We shift onus as we don’t want to be attributed as the primary contributor for failure.

We must choose to accept the onus of our responsibility and not shift from it. We must avoid the tendency to shift onus to others when things go wrong. The character of a person is displayed when he chooses to retain ownership of the onus that comes from a sense of responsibility.

The onus is only on me to do what is right…
Rather than shift to someone else in sight !

- Pravin K. Sabnis

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