Considering Obligations - Not All Are Equal

in ulog •  2 months ago
“Oh, I wasn’t expecting you to be home.”

“That’s the easiest way for me to answer the phone. What’s up mom?”

“I have the arrangements for your grandmother’s funeral. The service will be at the funeral home on Thursday at 11am.”

“Thursday? November 11th at 11am? I have three uncles who are veterans and they are good with a funeral at 11am on Remembrance Day?”

“Well, yes, that is when the funeral home had time. Nothing can be done about that.”

“I wont be there then. I have services to conduct at the cenotaph and that is where I’ll be. I’ll attend the funeral home on Wednesday to pay my respects.”

“Get someone else to do it. It’s your grandmother’s funeral.”

“Mom… I took on certain obligations when I took that oath to be branch president. One of them is ensuring that the public observances of our most important day of the year is carried out with decorum. I can’t just drop the details into someone’s lap two days before. It takes me weeks to put it together.

I’d really like to be at grandma’s service but I can’t be two places at once. Later in the day, I could attempt to get there.”

“Well! Apparently you don’t care!” and the line went dead

That was an actual conversation I had with my mother. It was her mother who had died, so, for a while, I incurred her wrath. She was right to a point, there is a family obligation to attempt to attend a funeral. Sometimes, it just can’t happen.

We’ve all come across similar situations, having to decide which conflicting obligation takes precedence. For me, in this situation, it was pretty clear cut. I had a duty to carry out. Grandma’s service was being handled by someone else.

I may have been able to delegate to my second in command except he was new to the position and had only just started shadowing me. I didn’t have someone to call on to step into my shoes who had previous experience, my predecessor was seriously ill. For me, duty meant giving up being with family on that occasion.

It’s been a struggle at times over the years to learn to look at situations and decide what is an actual overriding obligation which I’m duty bound to meet and what is a sense of obligation which could, and in some cases, should be delegated to someone else.

Obligations vary. They can be legal obligations we all have to obey the law, to file and pay our taxes or to care for and protect our children. There are also social, moral, religious, political and traditional obligations. No one lives without obligations of some sort.

We don’t always think of them as obligations. Often they are thought of as something we need to do because that is they way things are done. There are also obligations which arise through commitments we make with others.

When I undertake to support someone or something, I have made a commitment to help. I can define how far that obligation goes, but it is still something I have undertaken until I choose to no longer do so.

I’ve found that my own personal growth is intertwined with how I view obligations, either toward others or myself. When I make decisions about something I need to do for my own personal growth and treat those decisions as a personal obligation, growth happens. When I neglect them, it doesn’t.

It’s important to recognize obligations for what they are, prioritize them and then act on them. I decide the priority and I’m responsible for the outcome. I learned that when I stood up to my mother over that funeral and have never forgotten it.


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It’s important to recognize obligations for what they are, prioritize them and then act on them. I decide the priority and I’m responsible for the outcome. I learned that when I stood up to my mother over that funeral and have never forgotten it.


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When the day is done, no matter the obligations you make or miss, you have to still be able to look in the mirror and know you can live with what you see there. That you made the best decision at the time for yourself.

obligations to yourself and your sanity, while not always easy, are what makes you strong and able to stand behind why or why not you kept an obligation.

Oh.forgot..........

You follow me? I follow you and together we will live in harmony Dude/Ma'am/ Mrs. / Mz. :D

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Hey Mz. poster lady, I follow you and love what you are writing! It turns out we have an obligation to our own sanity too!

This article is fabulously written and the lesson is vitally important! Tough decisions arise and one must be able to make the decision rationally and without fear. This is something I'm still learning in my own growth. This article will now be another seed helping to guide me further.

Thank you for sharing your experiences with us ☺️.

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It’s not easy to learn and even harder to maintain oddly enough. At least it has been for me, never second guess.

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It’s important to recognize obligations for what they are, prioritize them and then act on them. I decide the priority and I’m responsible for the outcome.

I have a terrible time with this. That, or I just want to do so many different things there just aren't enough hours in the day. I guess it's also the prioritization part I'm missing. Things to work on.

Great article with some wonderful words of wisdom.
~T

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It’s not a smooth path getting to that point and always has to be done deliberately. Sometimes it seems way to easy to slip into letting others direct.

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wow thats heavy and a very detailed obligatory post. thank you for sharing a part of your story and the choices we all have to make.

A very solemn take on the topic. Obligations are rarely easy, and deciding between two conflicting ones can make them even harder.

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Definitely, when people you care about are pulling on one side and duty on the other, always tough

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It’s been a struggle at times over the years to learn to look at situations and decide what is an actual overriding obligation which I’m duty bound to meet and what is a sense of obligation which could, and in some cases, should be delegated to someone else.

This perfectly also sums up what my problem is with tasks at work, I tend to hog work thereby assuming obligation and then I get my priorities a bit jumbled since I might actually leave the most important work for the last minute, recently we got someone I find capable so now he gets all the crappy work. I think I can relate the exact thing to social responsibilities :)

I always like your stuff because they have lessons that I would have still taken years to even comprehend, maybe in a fit of rage so this really saves a person from that thank you.

My grandmother died recently and I had a similar moral quandry.

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Funerals are for the living and sometimes the living can be difficult.

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so true
so very true

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Oh that is such a good way of looking at the issue!

I had read this two days ago but somehow I forgot to up vote it. Luckily I saw it in the TSE again ;-)
I never liked attending a funeral. I went to two of them and ruined everything for me.

Wow. Just wow. But see? This moral incorruptibility of yours is one reason I respect you sooooo much.

FOR TSE: My relationship with my mother ended ---> ended ---> in a similar way and for similar reasons. I couldn't accommodate what she wanted ---> "and then the line went dead."

You know some of the rest of the story.

Congratulations! This post has been chosen as one of the daily Whistle Stops for The STEEM Engine!

You can see your post's place along the track here: The Daily Whistle Stops, Issue 257 (9/14/18)

I have run into troubles like these before and didn't know what to do. My ex's grandmother died while we were visiting my grandmother in the hospital and I was asked to be a pallbearer. About five hours into the seven hour drive I got a call that my grandmother had passed away as well. The funerals were going to be the same afternoon, so I decided to turn around but then my family called and had it changed to the next day so I could be at both.

I felt sick at the thought of making the choice myself.

What an incredibly tough choice that was. You are right, though, that obligations matter, whether those were forged by our own alliances or inherited throgh family. So many would have caved under the pressure, but good for you, standing up for what you felt was right!