I had been a witness to a high school senior leader hand over a gavel to an incoming junior high student as a symbol of new leadership.
I love 4×4 running relays because it’s always exciting to see how the runners pass the baton to the next runner in a way that the momentum is not jeopardized.
“Hand over” or “Pass the baton”—expressions that mean responsibility for something important is given to another person.
The passing action is positive—a show of trust and confidence from the giver to the receiver.
But there is one form of passing that’s not encouraging. It’s “passing the buck” which simply means blaming others.
Some persons always think that they are right and so, they are quick to blame another person when things go wrong instead of owning his/her own part. Buck passers think they are not part of the problem and that other people caused it. However, by passing the buck, they don’t realize that they have become part of the problem.
Sad to see a teenager take her own life because school authorities refused to enroll her due to outstanding debts in school; hurting to hear a husband take another woman because he can’t take his wife’s nagging style; common to hear a worker complain about being unhappy in his job because of a strict boss.
All these characters refuse to take responsibility in a problem and blame another person for their plight. No one wins. Everyone loses: death to the teenager, abandonment of spouse; loss of job.
Worse these buck passers get other people to play the game. By blaming others the helpless person assumes the victim position who points the finger and accuses another person. Lies are spun to get people to sympathize and believe them. The blame passer now feels more in control.
If you know of anyone who is doing this, how have you dealt with them?
Do you call them out?
Do you just bite your tongue, keep your opinions to yourself and just agree to get along?
Do you toss back their statements back to them in a good humored manner possible?
Do you walk away and avoid them until the time comes when they face their sickness?
Or do you directly tell them they should be looking inside first to find the answers to the problem?
People who continually “pass the buck” and play the blame game usually think low by themselves. It could be a direct result of not experiencing real love and attention from people who matter to them.
They may also be afraid to lose control of a situation and so they try to get the control back by blaming others! They hide their feelings of helplessness. If they didn’t blame anyone they would admit that they are not in control and that there is nothing they can do. So bottom-line: there’s fear and insecurity.
The buck-passing could also have been imbibed from their parents who have failed to teach their children how to take responsibility for their actions and so they grew up as adults who blame others whenever something bad happens.
Some people can’t admit failures and mistakes so they blame others for them in order to escape from responsibility. One common example is saying “I was late because the streets were crowded.
Someone wise said: “No one is ever a failure until he blames someone else for his own mistakes.”
The life story of Job in the Holy Bible is a great example of humility in a person even as he is beset with all the oppressions in life: loss of family, wealth and even health. But did Job let go of his faith in God? No.
He even said that God is the one who gave so He can also take away. You can’t hear him blame others for his misfortune, not even God himself.
Basically if things keep going wrong in your life, if you keep on finding yourself in chaotic situations, if there is always some kind of crisis going on or if things “just keep on happening to you” — you need to do a radar check. First is to ask yourself: “What have I done to contribute to the problem?”
“Don’t blame fate when things go wrong—trouble doesn’t come from nowhere.It’s human! Mortals are born and bred for trouble, as certainly as sparks fly upward. (Job 5:1-7)
Next time you point your finger at another person to blame or accuse, remember that there are three other fingers pointing back at you. We need to learn how to admit our own mistakes. The worst thing we can do is to try to ignore it or blame other people for it.
In order for people to become successful they will likely make many mistakes along the way. It is only by acknowledging mistakes that people can learn from them and grow.