According to the 21st-century bastion of knowledge, Wikipedia, the expression “passing the buck” is said to have originated from poker, in which a marker was used to indicate the person whose turn it was to deal. If the player did not wish to deal he could pass the responsibility by passing the “buck.”
Another attribution is to the French expression bouc émissaire, meaning “scapegoat,” where passing the bouc is equivalent to passing the blame. The terms bouc émissaire and scapegoat both originate from the Old Testament in Leviticus 16:6-10 where an animal was made to carry the burden of sins, after which the “buck” was sent or “passed” into the wilderness to atone for them.
That may be a new definition for you, but chances are you’ve used the phrase. More than that, you’ve done it. I have and so have our kids. But here’s the deal, when we make “passing the buck” of responsibility a habit, it changes us. Our attitude becomes one that says, “it’s somebody else’s fault.” Maybe you’ve heard it as, “it wasn’t me.” This character flaw points a finger at somebody else and removes all personal responsibility for your own issues or mistakes.
Here’s the truth, it’s typically not someone else’s fault.
There is the occasional time when it REALLY isn’t your fault, but let’s be honest. Most of the time, it’s just easier to pass the criticism and the comments onto someone else. You know what else? It isn’t your situation that makes you unhappy, unfulfilled, or empty. Sometimes it’s a habitual act of “passing the buck” to someone or something other than you. Sometimes you just have to step into the arena and take the hits. One of the most inspirational quotes I’ve ever heard from Teddy Roosevelt has challenged me to be willing to take personal responsibility when it’s mine to take.
“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.” Teddy Roosevelt
Kinda motivates you to be a bouc émissaire? Oui or no?