by Jennie S. Bev
Love makes the world go round. So does responsibility.
To survive as an individual, a family, an institution and a country, we rely on responsible individuals and groups of people. Without the responsible parents who raised us, it would be impossible for us to live and breathe today.
Without responsible spouses, it would be impossible to have harmonious families where love endures and flourishes. Without the responsibility we have for our own selves, it would be impossible to lead a normal life with a good family, a good career and good prospects for the future.
Without responsible leaders, it would be impossible to get anything done properly or manageably. A country led by irresponsible individuals is likely to suffer a great deal in the long-term: Unnecessary conflict, insecurity, and lack of political stability can be expected. These elements will break a strong country into pieces, something we all need to avoid.
What Indonesia needs are strong and responsible men (and women) to lead this beautiful-but-chaotic country. We are so fed up with corrupt politicians clothed as lambs and wearing innocent smiles, while they are wolves inside, ready to gobble the innocent “Little Red Riding Hoods” of the people.
We long for responsible officials whose interests are greater than adding more zeroes to their bank accounts, but who want to inspire and motivate the people do the best they can so a pluralistic Indonesia can prosper together in harmony.
This calls for more than a strong intellectual capacity or forceful hand. It requires strong visionary leadership that can also weave different ideas and create responsible and hard-working collaborations toward progress. I underscore responsible: Words are one thing, responsible behavior is another.
Strong responsibility translates to order, harmony and an environment conducive for progress.
Phillips Gunawan, a president director from a prominent business group in Indonesia once said: “Leadership comes with responsibility to serve and care with the heart. A great leader is best tested when bad times arrive, when he or she has to stand up to fulfill responsibilities.” We would love to see more leaders follow this simple principle, as it is not only reserved for the followers of Gandhi.
While responsibility is not the converse of freedom, the concepts are closely related. Freedom can only prosper when there is a responsibility in the people that is sufficient to sustain a balance. While oftentimes freedom is interpreted as having no boundaries, we should remind ourselves that “ain’t no such thing as a free lunch”, as the phrase goes. Anything that appears to be “free” may as well have something on the side or behind it.
Most likely, behind anything “free” is something that we need to pay for with responsibility. We may need to pay it beforehand or pay it forward, one way or another. A great leader understands this really well.
Great leaders serve the people they are leading or will be lead with a lot of sincerity and an awareness that a leader is always around and available to help whenever he or she is needed, all in the name of responsibility toward progress, toward a better future.
As an individual, I have suffered from irresponsibility far before most people. When I was a fetus inside my mother’s womb, my biological father abandoned me. It’s probably one of the greatest human woes: being abandoned by a parent.
Thus, responsibility is a luxury that I’ll always treasure in my lifetime. One trait that I’ll always be looking for in any relationship, whether it is romantic, professional, or other types of relationship is exactly that: reliability, or — in other words — dependability.
Promises are cheap. Responsible actions are what truly matter.
My early life experiences have taught me to be responsible for myself, my loved ones and community. The highest form of responsibility I have carried with me through my life is directed toward humanity.
My fellow humans are my anchor that keep me grounded on earth, regardless how high I’ve flown and how far I’ve traveled. I will always be drawn to respect humanity and to work for — at least write about — humanity.
From humanity I was born, to humanity I belong and for humanity I shall return.
I long for a responsible life and a responsible community, where individuals care toward one another and are aware of the impact they are having in people’s lives and the society.
Can you imagine how great Indonesia would be if we can rely on the government to ensure smooth sailing into the future?
Remember that both love and responsibility make the world goes round. Both must work in a pair to create a positive result. Let’s be responsible for ourselves, our loved ones and our fellowmen and women. The path to harmony is that simple.
The Jakarta Post, July 12, 2012