The importance of keeping your word

| March 20, 2012

Staff writer - Maureen Gordon

We are all guilty of saying idle words; they sometimes just roll off the tongue. The world is made up of people with good intentions, good intentions are promises we make to ourselves or to other people but very often we cannot follow through with it. One day I am going to…….., I will make it up to you, you wait and see……  When I have the money I am going to buy you the biggest…….

You can complete the rest: What do you say?

They say talk is cheap why, because there has to be actions behind those words. How many of us can honestly say that we are men and women of our word, what we say is what we are going to do. A well-known proverb admonishes: be careful in what you say, measure every word; do not speak unless it is important that you do.

To an impressionable child, your word is your bond.  One of my young relatives often reminds me: “a promise is a promise.” Up until a certain age children see things in black and white terms so if you say you are going to do something, they literally believe you are.  Then several broken promises later they begin to understand the reality, an epiphany happens, they realise that adults don’t always mean what they say. They only say things to keep me quiet or to give me false hope but they never do what they say.

Photo courtesy unp.me

A parent tells their child I won’t be long I am going to the shops, that child waits for their mother or father to come back but they never return and as the years pass they are forced to build up lots of stories and fantasies about that parent in order to have a logical explanation for themselves, because this is the only way to cope with the feelings of being abandoned.  Although this is a drastic example there is also truism in the tale, these things do happen to children.  Maybe it happened to you, or you have had promises made to you which have been broken many times, and therefore you have a hard time trusting people who make promises.

We need to be realistic about what we can and cannot do; our children will respect us for this in the long run. We will be giving them guidelines and a standard to live by. The words of an old song was “let your yes be yes and your no be no” So the next time you make a promise to do something make sure it is something you can accomplish. Especially if it is something you need to do for your children.

What do you think; I look forward to your comments

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Category: Culture & Society

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