Virtutes Romanae: Richard Armitage and Responsibilitas

I was talking to my Intro class yesterday about Plato’s Republic…specifically about the criteria required for one to become a Philosopher-King in Plato’s ideal state- yes, I know, it’s a veritable carnival of fun in Prof. Obscura’s classroom!  In any case, one of the criteria Plato identifies is an ideal age…40-ish, young enough to still be physically strong, and mature enough to employ reason.  The 18-20 year olds in the crowd are skeptical that the “olds” would make better kings, but I point out that, with age, comes experience which theoretically assists in the process.   One of the natural offshoots of this is the increased capacity for personal responsibility – accountability if you will.  Not only must the philosopher king be a good and just ruler, but as such, he must be able to accept responsibility for his decisions.

This is something that a lot of people, especially young people struggle with.  It is a daily parenting challenge for me…a pet peeve even.  Case in point.  Last summer, I won an iPad3…yes won – free to me – yay!!!  All was rosy for about two weeks until I asked my then 13 year old son to carry it to the car for me.  He did, and as I was coming out the door, I watched him accidentally drop it.  It landed on one corner on the concrete driveway.  The conversation went something like this:

Yeah, it looked a little something like this...

Yeah, it looked a little something like this…

Me:  Did you just drop the iPad?

Him:  No..

Me:  I watched you do it.   Is it broken?  (I could plainly see that the display was severely cracked)

Him:  No – You should have put it in a case.  (true, but not the central point here)

Me:  Just admit that you dropped it and apologize – I know it was an accident

Him:  *insert cricket sound effect*

I wanted nothing more than for him to take responsibility for his actions – well, I wanted an unbroken iPad, but accidents do happen – however, he is incredibly stubborn about this kind of stuff to this day.  It is something that will almost certainly incite future battles between us.

This notion of personal responsibility and accountability is summed up in the Roman virtue of RESPONSIBILITAS… What?  OK, OK  – you caught me wordsmiths!  Responsibilitas is not actually a Latin word…the concepts related to responsibility really fall under the Virtutes Romanae of GRAVITAS, but I already talked about that one here, and this topic has been weighing on my mind.  Richard Armitage certainly embodies the qualities of GRAVITAS, and I’ve seen very little behavior in his public life that would suggest that he has any lingering adolescent tendency to avoid taking responsibility for his actions.  In fact, his professional reputation suggests exactly the opposite.  It is something to which we all could aspire.

Richard Armitage reacts and responds to a question with gravitas

Richard Armitage reacts and responds to a question with gravitas

There is no one who is infallible – we all make mistakes from time….we misspeak, we mishear, we misunderstand, we overreact.  Mistakes are a part of life, but how we choose to deal with them can define us.    Mistakes can be embarrassing, but attempts to wriggle out of them even more so, especially if we insinuate someone else’s culpability to excuse our own.  Perhaps the best, most responsible reaction is to say from the start, “Mea culpa – (Latin for  “my bad”)  I goofed, I misspoke, I misunderstood, I overreacted..boy is my face red!”   I’m challenging myself to do this as a matter of course – no matter how much toner I need to balance out my complexion.  You can hold me to it!

OT: I survived “Car-mageddon 2013”

What the...?!

What the…?!

Well, here I am back from the big family shindig in mostly one piece despite the best attempts of the road signage in northwestern Wisconsin to force me off the road in fits of hysterical laughter!  Ancient Armitage will be back to the regularly scheduled programming this week, but first a few things I learned on this trip:

  • I really like my family…
    • every quirky, perpetually late, impossible to corral into a schedule, indecisive one of them.
  • Two vehicles are better than one on a 500 mile road trip
    • my husband and I found out we actually like driving around when it’s just the two of us…beef jerky and gas station restrooms are soooo romantic!!
  • There are motels that have rooms for six –
    • a pox on them for indulging my mom’s frugal spirit!!
  • There is nowhere to hide from camera phones…
    • or camera phone photographers who instantly publish to Facebook!
  • Upscale and expensive does not necessarily equate to perfection…
    • as proven by the massive flood in my room on night one in our extremely posh log cabin digs.
      • Who knew you needed to seal a basement window well and clear rain gutters of debris prior to torrential rains – evidently everyone but the maintenance staff at this resort!
      •  I think I should have gotten a free pedicure from the spa for having discovered the flood when my bare feet stepped out of bed into a soaking wet carpet – squish!
      • Also, my head is still humming from the sound of the industrial blowers drying out the carpet – very fancy!
  • Fangirling may be hereditary…
    • I bonded with one of my cousins – she is a self-proclaimed Cumberbitch 🙂

Really only two casualties from the trip…a misplaced iPad charger and cable and my sister and I aren’t speaking…that’s not really reunion related, just a sister thing we do every so often.   The 2015 reunion?  We’ll see everyone in Wyoming.  Or Florida…or North Carolina – go figure, we haven’t decided 🙂

Oh!  I almost forgot – pizza is really good cooked on the barbecue grill!  (all those cameras, and not one picture of 30 pizzas cooking on the grill!)