Recently, a friend of mine wrote a blog post about broken promises. She included great points about how breaking promises, no matter how small, amounts to some loss in trust. The problem is not always what is promised, but the promise itself. My pastor has also constantly drilled into our heads the importance of our promises. He told us that he will always try to make us stay true to them. The fact that he said that has really made me scared to say I’ll do anything. Promises are so easily broken with no apparent consequences, so people tend to undervalue what they are actually saying.
I have a friend, let’s call her Breadsticks. She will appear again. She told me, from experience, to never make a promise with a child. She recalled a time when she made a promise to someone’s little sister to bring her this grape bubble gum she wanted. When she fulfilled that promise later on, the child responded very thankfully and was happy that she had kept true to her word. However, when you are unable to fulfill that promise, the child will lose trust in you more and more and will become devastatingly disappointed. An account from another friend had promised to get the iPad from the car for her little brother. When unable to do so , I sat next to her as her little brother texted her through their parent’s phone explaining his great disappointment. You can sense his anger as you read it, but at the same time you couldn’t help but giggle at his cute grammar and spelling. So, even promises to kids are important. Many of us tend to push those behind us because we think we’re too busy to fulfill childish promises. However, every promise counts so please don’t make one if you can’t keep it. It goes the same to saying you would do something without any intention of doing so. Promise or not, false hope is no fun.
Some may think the boy was overly emotional when it came to him not receiving his iPad, but as you grow older, the disappointment from a broken promise doesn’t change. I know that I still feel the same way about broken promises. The other day I asked my sister if she wanted to take me to the Japanese Fair for extra credit. She agreed, but the next day decided she didn’t want to go. Long story short, I was disappointed and had even told a friend that I couldn’t hang out because I had to go the Japanese Fair with my sister that day. I also held back on free food in hopes of being able to eat some delicious ramen at the fair. This not being the first time, I wasn’t all that surprised.
Another account can be by Oedipus. Recently in English, we have been reading Sophocles’ Oedipus Plays. One part in Oedipus Colonus talks about a promise Theseus makes to Oedipus. Oedipus comes to find refuge in Athens and meets King Theseus. He tells the king about an oracle saying that the land he dies in will prosper. Theseus promises to give Oedipus a safe place and says, “No man is going to take you against my will,” even after being warned the possibilities of war. When Creon arrives and tries to take Oedipus away, Theseus doesn’t hold back in trying to retrieve Oedipus’ stolen daughters and continue giving him protection. When he does this, Oedipus shows great appreciation by saying, “Bless you for your noble heart Theseus! And you are blessed in what you do for us!” The value of Theseus’ promise was important to Oedipus, and the fact that it was fulfilled had given him momentary happiness.
So, no matter what age you are, a promise is a promise no matter how small. Please don’t make promises you can’t keep and TRY to fulfill the promises you make.