Growing in up in small town America afforded me the opportunity of spending way too much time watching television.  Yes, I enjoyed the outdoors; we rode four-wheelers, went camping, mowed lawns and actively found creative ways to get into trouble,  I enjoyed my youth.  Looking back I know for a surety that life wouldn’t have been the same without one daily ritual: Judge Judy.

I am confident that watching three or four seasons of Judge Judy should be a mandatory  rite of passage.  Judge Judy is as familiar to the fabric of my childhood as pogs, slap bracelets and Fraggle Rock.

Judge JudyMany people dislike Judge Judy because she’s a tyrant.  I don’t see it.   I can tell you what she really is: fed up.   In my profession I see the same type of people that Judge Judy deals with on a daily basis.  What is the common factor among all these people? Unwillingness.  Our society has become unwilling to take personal responsibility for what they do with their lives.

“If I am on my game, a male delinquent will find his time in my court to be the second worst experience of his life—circumcision being the first.” (Judith Sheindlin, Don’t Pee on my Leg and Tell Me It’s Raining)

It is just that simple. 

As long as there is DVR I will continue to enjoy Judge Judy.  She cuts through the smog to reveal what Heaven actually contains.  In the late 90’s Judge Judy released a bestselling book called “Don’t Pee on My Leg and Tell Me It’s Raining.”  It is a must read for every Judy fan and even those “unwilling” to add benefits to our society.

“I was beginning to wonder whether I would ever find someone, anyone willing to acknowledge responsibility for their situation.  Tap-dancing around responsibility has become an art form in my courtroom-and in American society.  As a family court judge, I look down on a daily pageant of dysfunction that would curl your hair.  Think of every social problem you can that affects America’s disintegrating families—welfare abuse, juvenile violence, abandoned or abused children, ugly custody fights—and you have just begun to scratch the surface of what parades through my court.” –Judge Judith Sheindlin. 

My life has become a daily act of being responsible.  As I journey through discipleship I sometimes feel overwhelmed by all the things that are required of me.  I have to be responsible for my actions and there will always be a constant need for me to lace up my boots and get to work.  Where is this type of responsibility being taught?  Clearly it is not being offered in most American homes.  Look at the millennial youth, the rising generation and those that follow them.  To me, it seems like everyone holds a victim card and the idea of responsibility is as foreign as aliens and Alf.

In my personal life I have had to take responsibility for my actions, sadly I have also tried to play the victim card.  It is much easier to blame someone else for my situation and to blame the actions of other people because I was affected.  Now, don’t get me wrong, there are valid and justifiable reasons that you might be a victim.  That is an absolutely true reality.  However, I believe we naturally slide into the ease of finger pointing or burying our guilt to avoid the pain of realization.

We are living in a strange time. It has been called the space age or computer age. However, it seems to be the age of blaming everyone and everything for any unfavorable condition. We blame acquaintances, parents, the Church, spouses, teachers, neighbors, the area where we dwell, or even the weather for our problems.

This is wrong. It is not God’s way. It is not part of his great plan. Each of us must stand before our Redeemer alone and account for what we have done. We must assume responsibility for our actions. Jacob wrote, “Now, my beloved brethren, … according to the responsibility which I am under to God, to magnify mine office with soberness,  I declare unto you the word of God.”, Jacob 2:2” – Hugh W. Pinnock

During my mission I read a talk called The Challenging and Testifying Missionary.  It is a talk given to encourage missionaries to understand the importance of their callings, to be bold in their actions and to speak as the Savior would speak.  I have implemented many of these principles in my life.  It is easier for me to be blunt than it is to remain politically correct, or sheltered.  Some will naturally find this behavior harsh and selfish.  For me it is easier to get to the root of the problem as quickly as possible.  Shouldn’t we focus more on who we can become, not who we are today?  I suppose this is why I love Judge Judy.  She is a gem among the honest.  She says what each of us thinks, but dare not say out loud.

How do we help our children?  How to we re-train the millennial generation?  How to we help ourselves?

I am not sure I have the answers to those questions.  I do believe we can focus on the lesson President Hinckley taught regarding the 6 B’s of life.

Be Grateful.

Be Smart.

Be Clean. 

Be True.

Be Humble.

Be Prayerful.

And maybe I should add a seventh: be more like Judge Judy.