Yesterday was the first day of school. Aaron came home later than usual. He had gone into the wrong school bus, as he had assumed it would be the same bus number as last year. The previous bus driver had to telephone the new driver to return to the school to pick him up. So, the moment he reached home, he blamed his mother.
A: Why didn’t you tell me?
Me: How should I know?
A: Why didn’t you call the bus driver to ask?
Me: Why didn’t you ask the morning driver yourself?
I had a sense of dejavu then. Just two days ago, my mother was at granny’s house looking at the new digital album I gave Gran. Mom commented to my aunt when she saw Aaron’s photos through the years, "He has put on so much weight since returning home because Vicky has been feeding him breakfast." Left unsaid, "When he was staying with me, he did not take breakfast and thus was slim." She had told me that before too and I had looked at her oddly. Isn’t it a fact that breakfast is the most important meal of the day?
Those two people have alot in common. My mother is one who is very quick to point her finger whenever something is not right at home. Most of the time, the maid bears the brunt of it. Sometimes, it’s me.
Washing machine broke down ——-> the maid spoiled it
Kiam Chye soup too salty ———> the maid did not soak the veg ‘long enough’
Plant dies ———-> maid : too much water; too little water; too much sun: too little sun; ditto with fertilizer.
Aaron too fat ——–> Vicky fed him breakfast
Sebby crys —–> Vicky: voice too loud, speak too fast, face too fierce…..ok, I added that in but i heard that somewhere from someone.
So what happens when something goes wrong that is obviously done by Aaron and mom? They act ignorant. I don’t know, they’d say.
I try to understand the psychology behind the blame game. Does it solve the problem? Does the person who blame feel better after that, like comfort food for thought?
Worse, some people choose to blame fate or bad luck whenever things go wrong, instead of looking inwards. There is this man who blames his fate for having been born in a poor family, and for his bad luck for never being able to keep a steady job. You would think this could be true, until you learn that he had the good fortune of studying hotel Mgm/Hospitality in Switzerland but did not graduate, and that his elderly retired parents are now paying for his car and maid for his kids because he has been in and out of jobs. Good fortune or bad luck?
Blame his parents, Bee said, when she narrated to me the story of her relative.
But that’s not fair, I said, thinking about the heart-breaking story of the mother blamed for her son in the Columbine murder in US. Many in the community had blamed her, and she had blamed herself too, not knowing that her son was suffering from a depressive disorder when he committed the murders in his school.
On the other extreme are people who feel victimised by the blame game. When a friend’s son complained to the father about his dirty toilet habit, the father exclaimed, yes blame that on me, everything that goes wrong in this house is my fault. Yet, when the father spotted a mistake in his daughter’s maths homework, the first thing he accused his daughter was, your mother taught you this right? That’s why you got it wrong. A vicious cycle of blame. Imagine what the kids are learning.
I was taught in management classes that instead of looking for scapegoats to a problem, look for solutions instead. If the solution happens to be corrective action for a person, then tell them so without blaming. I guess it’s easier said than done when the culture around us is to point fingers.