Thursday, October 30, 2008

Pa Ingalls and My Responsibility Project

So there's this thing going on at right now called The Responsibility Project. Spurred by a Liberty Mutual commercial of all things, the site features a bunch of short films about personal responsibility. And I'm so on about that.

I hate it when I see kids litter in the subway. I saw a teenage boy hand a half-full can of grape soda to another kid right before getting off the train. The other kid, a girl, didn't want it, yelled loudly in response, and held the soda can very briefly like it was a dead animal. I'm pretty sure the boy had a crush on her and thought handing her his garbage was a good way to show it. Have I mentioned I didn't have a high school boyfriend? In retrospect, maybe not so bad. Anyway, the girl then put the can on the floor under a seat and got off at the next stop.

Not surprisingly, within minutes the can overturned, and a narrow, shallow, sticky river of grape soda began to run the length of the subway car. I watched it all happen, and I was so mad about it. Mad when I watched people having to step around the mess. Mad when I saw people step right in it. Mad when a diverging stream ran into the open-toed shoes of someone innocently reading a newspaper, not noticing.

Finally a woman picked the can up and exited the subway with it. And I wanted to get her email address and send her a thank you note. That woman exercised the kind of personal responsibility that germaphobic me was not willing to do (Pick up some kid's yucky, germy, discarded soda can after it rolled around on the subway floor? No thank you. I will just sit, watch it obsessively, and steam).

So will my baby girl leave half empty cans of soda on the subway when she's a teenager? Gulp.

As a parent, my inherent, goody-two-shoes, nerdy to a fault, Presbyterian, "follows-directions-well-ness" has kind of exploded. The sense of responsibility I feel towards this small person is kind of staggering. I think this feeling is probably why I have obsessively posted videos and photos about cutting her bangs too short--for an entire MONTH. She was fine. Then I took scissors to her and mangled her hair. Fairly harmless in the grand scheme of things. A spilled can of grape soda on a subway train. But when it comes name it. Making medical decisions. Protecting her financial future. Keeping her from hurting herself. Even teaching her not to litter. Am I indiscriminately wielding craft scissors?

So, Liberty Mutual (and I am so not selling anything for them or getting paid by them...I just watched this movie after the link was sent to me) is sponsoring this film project to get people talking about individual responsibility. And I find it so refreshing. In this age--heck in this election month--where many are passing the buck, many are blaming our problems on everyone else, here's a company using film to raise the issue of individuals choosing to stop the buck.

Here's the movie I watched. It's called "Tony." I watched the whole 13 minutes of it, which is rare for me, and actually found it kind of touching. I'm a new mom so I guess that's not too surprising. I'm not sure about the end...but I've only been a parent for 14 months. Talk to me in a couple of years. And did the boy need to be sick to make the story work? I'm actually not sure about that either. Maybe yes. Again, talk to me in a few years.

But all this is really about me of course, and my penance for hacking the baby's bangs. My crazy sense of responsibility which is hitting me so hard that I feel the need to post photos for a month featuring very blatantly "the bad thing I did." So here's the latest, and let me say also the final, one.

And here's a sneak peek of the little bean in her Halloween costume. She's going to be Laura Ingalls (before the "Wilder" when she was still "Half Pint"). So how did Ma and Pa teach those kids to be so darned responsible? I guess they had no other choice. Everyone pitched in or they wouldn't have anything to eat after Plum Creek froze in November. Minnesota winters in a poorly insulated homestead slap some responsibility into you pretty quickly, I guess.

None the worse for the wear. Still the biggest responsibility project I've ever undertaken. And I love her.


Karen said...

I hate subway litter too! Especially the sticky, wet kind.

LOVE her costume! She looks adorable!

Nancy said...

What an adorable Half Pint! She's ready for the prairies of Manhattan for sure.

I thought the same thing about "Tony" - did the kid really need to be sick? I don't think so, but at least they weren't too heavy handed with that. It's an enjoyable short.

Wendy said...

I agree Nancy. I thought they were pretty subtle with the sickness. And I really did enjoy the short. Great acting! Funny. Moving. It was pretty successful all in all I thought!