Understanding responsibility turns burdens into labors of love


Photo by Karl Biedritzky.

Naasei Lynn, Staff Writer

It was midway through the third quarter of my state semi-final football game when the full front of my exhaustion finally began to overwhelm all of my previous attempts to ignore my body’s warning signs. As our offensive possession waned on, my eyes began to drift to the sidelines in search of a substitute, and my hands became glued to my hips at the end of each play. I was tired – not just because of the intensity of the game, but the 16-week-long season had pushed my physical health to a breaking point. 

After the whistle blew on another play, I could feel my right arm pushing itself up to tap the top of my helmet, signaling to my coaching staff that I was in need of a substitute. This concept weighed on my mind as our coach called in a new play, his hand signals beginning to jumble together as I was losing focus. Suddenly, I understood that I couldn’t leave. I never liked football enough to truly put my body on the line for a game, but I knew that I had a responsibility to my teammates to stay on the field. Despite the insignificance of this moment on the overall outcome of the game, the concept of prioritizing my responsibilities became an ever-so-prevalent theme in my life.

Football wasn’t the only task that helped me understand what it meant to have a responsibility. Going into senior year, I knew my younger brother would be an incoming freshman at Tualatin High School (TuHS), but I was not aware of how much it would affect my actions in and outside of school. My parents had always told me how much I can influence him – which I never thought was a bad thing – but being in the same school as him unlocked a new element to our brotherhood: fostering. Throughout the year, I found myself at a multitude of freshman football and basketball games, along with talking to his teachers about missing assignments whenever he missed school due to sickness. At times, I remember feeling like a makeshift parent, but that was the point. I did not want to lead my brother astray in his entry year to high school, so I made a deliberate effort to nurture and protect his future. 

In combination with all of my other responsibilities at the time, such as ASB and being on the school board, it began to feel like I had spread myself too thin. The familiar exhaustion from my final football game settled in more than once. However, understanding the importance of these responsibilities allowed me to continue them. Without a genuine love and care for the activities I involved myself in, the feats I accomplished would not have been possible. I cared about my teammates, my family and my school, which allowed me to put all of my energy into activities that concerned them without faltering.

Through trial and error and holding heavy burdens, my experience at TuHS allowed me to truly understand responsibility. Taking on ‘herculean’ tasks is not just about bolstering a resumè for college applications, but about finding time to give back to those you care for. Being responsible is more than a phrase; it means curating a lifestyle in the image of something greater than yourself.