A parable of sorts to illustrate why deciding to take responsibility for your mistakes can take courage.
“Ice cream makes dogs fart,” I told the little boy offering his ice-cream cone to my dog.
Zilly and I were minding our own business, waiting for a friend at the park, when we were suddenly swarmed by ice-cream-eating 5-year-olds.
At the word “fart,” the little kids erupted in a group belly laugh. Nothing funnier than talking about farts when you’re 5.
The little boy then turned to his adults. “Ice cream makes dogs fart,” he informed them solemnly.
There was a moment of appalled silence. “Jimmy!” his mom exclaimed. “We don’t talk …”
And I realized I was going to have to take responsibility for the fart talk.
I felt a moment’s fear.
For a split second I was tempted to say nothing, to gather up my dog and nonchalantly stroll away. I was tempted to let little Jimmy take the fall for the potty talk.
“That was me,” I admitted. “I started the fart talk.” And we all had a big laugh and a friendly chat and went our separate ways with warm feelings all around.
Except that I had been tempted — for just the briefest moment — to throw that little kid under the (metaphorical) bus.
Miriam-Webster says the phrase “to throw someone under the bus” gained prominence in the mid- to late-2000s. The Urban Dictionary defines it as: “One is thrown under the bus when they are made the scapegoat or blamed for something that wasn’t their responsibility in the first place. A coverup for your mistake.”
Taking responsibility for your mistakes, even the small ones, takes a measure of courage, I tell my coaching clients.
“You have many moments of decision every day,” I say. “Doing the right thing — finding that courage — doesn’t necessarily just happen. You have to decide.”
Our reputations and careers – and, evidently, our dog walks — are defined by these small moments of decision. “Do you raise your hand or do you stroll away?” I ask.
But whatever you do, don’t feed the dog ice cream.