My Reasons vs Your Excuses

If Shakespeare can do it, so can I!  I just invented a word: "reascuses" (ree-sku'-sez).  "Reascuses" are when the line between reasons and excuses is intentionally blurred.  "Reascuses" are...well... Take a look at my latest JoJoism: JoJoism#49 "A reason is what I have for not doing something for you.  An excuse is what you have for not doing something for me."  JoJoisms: Revealing Life's i think of 'em! My reasons are often in conflict with your excuses and so the lines are blurred to make the excuses appear more like they are reasons.  Any excuse I give is really a reason and any reason you give, if it conflicts with what I want to hear, is an excuse! For example, when I want you to come to my party on Saturday and you say the reason you can't come is because you have to help your mother move, that's really an excuse because you can't help her move ALL DAY!  I happen to know that your mother goes to bed by 8pm every night.  You'll HAVE to be done by then and the party will be going on til at least 2am!  And what do you mean you'll be tired? Merriam Webster defines reason as "a rational ground or motive", "sufficient ground of explanation or of logical defense" or a "cause."  Excuse is defined as "something offered as justification or as grounds for being excused" or an "apology."  So a reason Sarah broke the vase is because she was a bit careless.  An excuse for why Sarah shouldn't be held accountable for the broken vase is because her mom shouldn't have put a vase where Sarah was not likely to notice it. I once was a Claim's Rep for a large insurance company.  My insured phoned to say he had rear-ended someone.  His "reason" was that she was illegal and shouldn't have been in the country anyway.  If she hadn't been in the country illegally and driving a car without a driver's license and hadn't stopped for no reason in the middle of the freeway, he wouldn't have hit her.  While this may be true, it's an excuse, not a reason.  It didn't change the fact that he and his insurance company were responsible for her damages.  He should have noticed that her car stalled in front of him.  He should have been traveling far enough behind her to have given him enough room to stop after noticing she was slowing down to a stop. "Reascuses" are quickly replacing reasons in our society.  Why?  Because nobody wants to take responsibility for hurting another.  Very few people leave a note on a car they accidentally hit on the way out of a parking space.  They don't want to be financially responsible for the damages so they create a "reascuse" that says it's okay because it's just a little dent and nobody will ever know.  It's not like I meant to do it!  It's not like I can afford to pay for it.  And besides, he'd probably do the same to me.  I have four dents in my car from where other people ran into me and never owned up and those dents are MUCH BIGGER than the one I left on this guy's car.  His car already has dents on it and it's an old car anyway.  He probably would just take the money and never get the car fixed anyway! The problem with "reascuses" is that they build expectations of behavior in others that set us up for misunderstandings, conflicts and hard feelings that may never be resolved.    If any reason you give for not coming to my party is simply an excuse and unacceptable, that leaves very little wiggle room for anyone when life happens.  If Sally doesn't come to my party, she is a bad friend.  If Sally doesn't help her mother move, she's a bad daughter.  If Sally does both, she's a bad employee because she'll be tired all day Saturday when her boss planned for their staff meeting.  Poor Sally can't win! Today's society justifies bad behavior and ill treatment with "reascuses" based on the belief that what I need and want always takes precedence over what others need and want.  And freedom of speech means that not only do I have the right to voice my opinions, but I have the right to make you agree with me.  Hubert Humphrey once said, "The right to be heard does not automatically include the right to be taken seriously." We have the freedom to speak, but others have the freedom to accept or reject our thought process.  That's why communication requires skill.  It takes some amount of skill to express yourself in a way that others will understand you, accept what you say and allow it to persuade their actions in your favor. If we are going to pit my reasons against your excuses, my reasons will always win in my mind and your excuses will always triumph in yours.  If we truly wish to communicate effectively, we'll both need to explain ourselves in the light of truth. And the truth is that there are many reasons why things happen in life.  Some of them may not seem valid to us from where we sit and some of them may only seem valid to us from where we sit. ~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~ JoJo Tabares holds a degree in Speech Communication.  Her Christian and humorous approach to communication skills has made her a sought after speaker.  JoJo's articles have appeared in various homeschool magazines and websites such as Dr.  Her Say What You Mean curricula is endorsed by The Old Schoolhouse Magazine and her eBook, Say What You Mean When You're in Business, has been used by direct sales leaders and small business owners alike.  For more information, please visit


  • Kim @ In Our Write Minds

    I love coining new words too. Love this post!

  • Carla

    You’re right. Sally is having a heckuva time out there today! What you wrote about “what I need and want always takes precedence over what others need and want,” is sadly true in our world. It used to be called narcissism. Now it’s simply called life. BIG SIGH I do LOVE, LOVE, LOVE the new word, though! I make my own up all the time. Fun, isn’t it? :)

  • jojosblog

    I love making up words. I’ll just have to talk to Webster about this.

  • cindy holman

    Great stuff in here JoJo – it’s true – our culture has changed and we are quick to blame and find an excuse rather than take ownership for ourselves. This is true in about every area of life – people simply don’t want to take the time to find the right way to approach a mistake that they have made – always easier to find an excuse and to blame. Hence the verse, ‘come let us reason together’ is a lost art – if people are not willing to reason.

  • jojosblog

    Good scripture, Cindy! Thanks.

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