As an adult, I came to realise that one thing was consistent through life; we should not be held responsible for anything we have no control over, and any punishment that we receive, such as insults and bullying, because of the labels we inherited, is totally unjust and adds to the wrongness of racism, bigotry and so on. This unjustness is partly why racism, religious bigotry and so forth elicit such a strong reaction from people, and can lead to extreme violence.
I am grateful for a great deal of what I was taught as a child. I still consider much of it to be true and will continue to be guided by it, as I have for my whole life. However, I had no choice about any false beliefs, values, biases and rubbish that was mixed in with the good stuff drummed into my brain by the adults around me, as I grew up.
The most difficult responsibility of adults is to sort through all the above and decide what is true and what is not, especially in things that tend to divide people, like religion and politics. For example, various religions claim to be the only true religion. Obviously they can’t all be right so maybe there is no ‘one true religion’.
We are all equal in that we are not responsible for what we inherited, and what we were taught. We should only be held responsible for what we have some control over, and the only thing in life we can control is our own actions. Regardless of nationality, gender, colour, religion and so on, we all learn what behaviour is acceptable and unacceptable by the consequences of what we do and by the reactions of other people. That means we are responsible for the effect our actions have on ourselves, other people, and the environment. When our actions are guided by doing no harm, or by being beneficial, to ourselves, others, and the environment, we are acting responsibly. Of course, 'being responsible' includes learning from the outcome of our actions.
Bob Myers, author of Travelling the Road of Peace and Happiness.