3 reasons keeping promises is important

word of month character

If integrity is about knowing right from wrong and telling the truth versus lying, it is also about keeping your word, commitments, and promises. As a young person, their obligations do not hold the weight that they will in later life. But what a child learns about promises and the importance of keeping them will affect them as they get older grow into adulthood.

Just as important for their self-esteem and confidence is keeping the promises they make to themselves. If they tell themselves, they are going to read every day for 20 minutes and then do not follow through they break trust in themselves. This erosion of faith in yourself over time is letting yourself down. Not doing what you tell yourself you will do, is like saying that you do not see yourself as valuable and you will begin to believe that you are not able to do it next time.

Losing the strength to keep promises you make to yourself begins to erode the trust you have in yourself to keep promises to others. Losing that trust from others is difficult to gain back and will take time and effort. So how do you develop this character trait of integrity of your word?

Both with adults and children, we start with the small promises. If we cannot keep the small commitments, then we will not be able to keep the large ones either. On the other hand, if we choose not to keep the big promises it will be easier for us to ignore the ‘small’ promises we make daily.

We may want to write the promise down as we are learning or re-learning to keep our word. Make it clear and measurable. When a promise is vague, especially with children, it is effortless to find a way to work around that commitment. Make that commitment an essential, high priority, to keep the promise. It may also need to perform it quickly or keep a reminder for the time and place that we agreed to complete our pledge.

When we keep our commitment to an activity, team or individual, others will trust us, think of us as mature, reliable individuals. Most important we are honoring ourselves as having value, not feeling disappointed in ourselves or like we let ourselves down again. All of this is true for children and adults.

So the three reasons we can use to explain to our children that keeping promises is important:

  1. Self-esteem and confidence
  2. Keeping faith in yourself
  3. How others view us – mature, reliable and trustworthy

Check out some of the simple starter promises that we can begin our children on so they are building self-esteem as well as trust in themselves while others see them for their integrity. Here is a link to a video about helping children keep their promises.

Dependability: keeping our word

word of month character

Our word of the month is dependability.  All of us know that if we are dependable then we keep our word, we follow through on our promises.  In our day to day life we make promises to others all of the time.  In fact many times the promises just slide off our tongue very easily and before we have thought it out completely. 

Many times that happens most often with our friends and family.  Why is that so?  I believe that we take for granted that they, because of our relationship with them, will ‘forgive’ us if we do not keep our promise just the way we said it or at least they will be more understanding. 

Is that really fair to them though?  What is the long term effect if we make this a practice?  I know as a parent that when our children said they were going to do something and they did not follow through it was disappointing.  Then when we asked them to give their word again we would ask them again and again.  (that can be annoying for both the child and the parent)  If it is a really big issue, like what time will you be home or if your home work is complete, it could lead to losing privileges. 

We have talked about this many times too that we may also lose the trust of the other person.  If you are a child reading this – there is nothing that is worse than losing the trust of your mom and dad.  Do everything you can to maintain that trust.

One more part of this puzzle too.  When you do not keep a promise there is the feelings that you have about yourself.  Do you know that feeling I am talking about?  That guilting feeling?  The one that everytime you see the person you promised something too you just cringe.  That has a long term affect that I will talk about later.  But for now we can all work on keeping our word and doing so as quickly as we can after giving it to another person.
 

Dependability: Definition

word of month character

November word of the month at Balanced Life Skills is Dependability.  Being dependable is about our promises and commitments, our actions and being accountable for those actions.   This month we will explore this even more, to find ways that we can demonstrate our dependability at home and in all parts of our life.   Our students will learn the role that dependability plays in creating a good reputation.

 

Young students:

Dependability means: You can count on me!

Older students:

Dependability means: Following through with commitments even when it’s challenging to do so.

There will be more discussions on this site of this word to help everyone discuss it with their own children and to look at it more deeply with themselves in the coming month. Check back with us or you may join our community for even more information.

 

Rewards for keeping commitments

word of month character

Everyone of us has had a time when someone promised to do something for us and then did not keep that promise. How did it make you feel? Frustrated, angry, let down? We have also experienced, hopefully more often, the times when promises were kept and our feelings were the exact opposite. We were relieved, happy, and felt like we knew someone we could rely on.

If we are a young child and we promise mom and dad that we will clean our room and then we keep that commitment – without being asked to do it again and again – your parents are feeling very happy about you being so responsible and trustworthy. Believe me as a child this is a good thing for parents to feel this way!

At the same time when we keep a promise like that we can say to ourselves that we know we are dependable and that we can reach our goals, because we stick to our commitments. Guess what? The same is true for adults! The people around us begin to trust us and see us as leaders and reliable when we keep our commitments. It makes a big difference.

If we break our commitments though others may not feel that they can trust us, they may be upset with us and it will impact the lives of many other individuals. It also has a big impact on ourselves and how we feel about ourselves. When we keep promises to ourselves there is a pride and feeling of accomplishment. Here is a quick example. When it is time for me to do my work out I sometimes do not feel like doing it. Have you ever felt that way? But as soon as I get started it is OK – but when I am done I feel so good about accomplishing a task that I committed to my instructor and have made known to the entire community I would do.

You will feel the same when you keep a commitment to yourself and to others.

Read about Mr. Joe’s commitment to the Ultimate Black Belt Test that started in January 2009 and will be completed with the final test in February 2010. He recently committed to the “Live Like a Champion” journey that begins in January 2010. His journal is My Journey.

Keeping your commitment

word of month character

When times get tough or things get hard on some front, it is very easy for us to release ourselves from a commitment. When we are good at something, or when it is fun or when we just love doing it and we get rewarded in some manner that meets our needs then it is easy to keep our commitment. In fact we will fight for the ability to keep our promises to ourselves and others.

But when things get hard or doesn’t come as easy as it use to, or we are feeling a bit bored by the activity, or a friend is no longer a part of the activity, then these are obstacles that we need to fight our way through. If we were to give up for one of those reasons we will not reach the goals we originally set out to accomplish.

What would you do if you made a commitment and now were having trouble with it? First we need to be sure that we are talking to ourselves the way we would a friend. We would want to encourage ourselves and give a little pep talk. We would never hang out with someone who constantly told us that we could not do something. So I would suggest that we should not talk to ourselves that way either. Second get some extra help, which means we may have to decide what we need and then be willing to ask for it.

Ultimately we are responsible for our choices. Napoleon Hill said, “Effort only fully releases its reward after a person refuses to quit.” Connecting success with commitment is paramount to staying the course. Ask yourself if there are other distractions or poor influences that you must choose to deal with so that you can keep your commitment.

Read about Mr. Joe’s commitment to the Ultimate Black Belt Test that started in January 2009 and will be completed with the final test in February 2010. He recently committed to the “Live Like a Champion” journey that begins in January 2010. His journal is My Journey.