The Value of Your Word
Raising children is a tough business to be in. For a lot of reasons.
One challenge we have is teaching our kids the value of their word. When they give their word, when they say they’re going to do something, they need to make good on that. And they constantly hold us accountable for our word.
Case in point. If you ever visit our home, one of the most common things you’ll hear is one of our daughters reminding us or each other, “You said . . .” In fact, it’s so prevalent that it’s become a joke.
The lesson learned here is that kids want to know that when mom or dad say something, they mean it and they’re gonna stick to it. If I say I’ll play a game with them “later” then I better make good on my word. If we say we’ll take them to the store to spend the gift certificate they got for Christmas then we better keep our promise and get them to the store. To our girls, our word is everything. So when we renege on that word or the circumstance changes and what we promised doesn’t happen, we hear about it (“You said . . .”).
Now, granted, sometimes circumstances do change and thus plans must change and thus it seems like mom and dad aren’t keeping their word and when that happens we try to educate our girls that we do our best to make good on our promises but sometimes it just can’t happen. A hard lesson to teach and even harder one for them to learn.
I don’t get into politics on this blog and that’s intentional but there’s something happening now that is relevant and tough on parenting. It seems this whole concept of “keeping your word” has been devalued from the very top of our societal structure. Politicians are notorious for making “campaign promises” and reneging on them but when the President makes a bunch of very clear promises and then fails to make good on his word what’s a parent to do? Whether our girls follow the news or not and whether they’re aware of this or not is a moot point. The point is that our culture makes nothing of the value of giving your word.
It used to be that your word and a handshake was money in the bank. Not so anymore, and it makes parenting an even tougher business to be in.