Lessons In Being A Grownup

This is a funny story about an embarrassing moment of mine, and what it took for me to finally grow up. (Hint: it has do to with personal responsibility.)

Please leave a comment below … tell me when YOU finally grew up, and the difference it’s made for you … or about an embarrassing moment of yours, if you dare :-) …

P.S. This is my first video blog, and I shot it in my home office. If you listen closely, you can hear footsteps from upstairs starting at around 3:40. Funny.

[ transcript ]

Hey, it’s David Levin. I want to tell you a little story about a personal responsibility moment of mind. It was one day last Summer, I was standing at our kitchen table cutting up a nectarine. It was snack time, and Peter and Frances, Peter was eight at the time, Frances was four and a half (8 and 4-1/2) and they were sitting there watching me work, waiting for their juicy treat. And it was not going well.

I was having trouble getting the flesh off the pit, it was sort of a ripe one, and the more I worked the worse it got to the point where it was basically ruined – and I just hate that when it happens. It’s just such a mess and such a waste. I don’t care for it.

So finally, my frustration got the best of me and I lost it. I threw the whole mess down, splattered juice all over the place – and I swore. I dropped a big, fat F-bomb in front of the kids.

They were shocked. Eyes got big. There was this awkward silence.

Then they burst out laughing. And the best part was, Peter said, “Dad, that was so childish!”

My eight-year-old calling me childish makes me laugh. But it was embarrassing, too, because he was right. It was childish.

So I apologized, said I was sorry, made it clear it was not okay for me to behave that way. Then I cleaned up the mess and grabbed another nectarine. Fortunately that one went a lot better.

I think about that story, and I really love it, but I have mixed feelings about it, too.

You know, I was embarrassed, of course, for having behaved behaved that way in front of the kids. I hate it whenever I do something I’m not proud of, but especially in front of them.

But the stronger feeling, to be honest, was being glad for having modeled taking responsibility for the mistake, because that hasn’t always been the case for me.

I’ve been writing and speaking about personal responsibility now for almost twenty years, but I came to it fairly late in life.

There was a time, back in the early 90’s when I was really struggling. I’d been off the road for several years, I was drifting with the music, no direction, I was waiting tables, playing in a wedding band. Spending money I didn’t have, piling up a lot of debt. Just sort of lost.

And a big part of what got me there was that I had sort of an entitled attitude. I spent way too many years thinking things like, “When is someone going to help me out here? Come on, why can’t I catch a break? When are people going to realize how wonderful I am?” Like the universe was just supposed to provide me with success because I had a lot of potential and I wanted it real bad. I really did think that way.

And it’s not like I was sitting around being lazy. I’ve always worked hard, but I wasn’t working smart and I wasn’t taking responsibility for the situation. It was one excuse after another, and the bottom line was, I was 35 years old and I still hadn’t really grown up. And my life was going nowhere.

But once I clicked into this idea that you need to take responsibility for my life, and that I COULD really do that, everything changed. Now, not overnight. It took a few years for it to play out. And learning about Focus, that was the other big piece of the change. But personal responsibility was right there, and everything I’m proud of in my life has happened since then. With the music, 4 CD’s out. All since then. Author / co-author. 4 books, 5th one’s in the works. All since then. Great family, Margret and I’ve been together over 25 years, healthy, happy, just a great life. All of it since then.

So personal responsibility for me is not some motivational slogan or a political statement. It’s just my life. It really is.

So being able to model it in that moment with the kids, felt good about that, in spite of the F-bomb boo boo before it.

So in my mind, the lesson for them that day was, grownups make mistakes, too, just like kids do. The difference is, when grownups do it, they take responsibility for it. And that’s a pretty good lesson. Grownups take personal responsibility.

So that’s my take on the story anyway. You might feel differently about it. For you, maybe the F-bomb outweighs the other lesson, and that’s okay. I understand that, too.

So my question for you is, and I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments, is when did YOU finally grow up and start taking personal responsibility? I’m sure it was earlier than I did. But when was it for you? And what sort of difference has it made in your life? So leave a note in the comments. I’d love to hear your story. And if you’re watching this somewhere other than my website, come on over to davidlevin.com and get on the list so I can tell you when new things come out.

All right. That’s it. Thanks. I’ll see you next time.


  • Charlie

    July 1, 2014

    Well said, David. From my POV, you changed your Karma when you accepted responsibility for your actions. Karma, being action, that is. So, you changed your actions(s). Most people think Karma is the consequence of actions but that is, in fact, the fruit of Karma or the result of Karma. My Karmic change came when I was 37 years old and I quit drinking. Not all has been good since then, of course, but it has been different and I have choices where I did not before that.

  • Les McPherson

    July 16, 2014


    Well Done! Isn’t it amazing the lessons that our kids teach us? Just wait until it is your grand-kids who are teaching you the lessons!

    Certain parts of me have not grown-up and hopefully they will not. The other parts probably grew-up way to early! But at this stage of the game you just have to roll with it.

    The awesome thing is that we can change at anytime, we just have to make that choice and then get started!

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