Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Thoughtful Tuesdays - Promises

A promise is a cloud; fulfillment is rain. ~Arabian Proverb

I remember the conversation I had with Reya one time. I was persuading the then 5 year old to try the Polenta I made and she was worried that it would be spicy. I assured her that it was not. She said "I will try it because you say it is not spicy, but if it is, I will not trust you again". After taking a bite she said "OK.... I will trust you again"...

That incident left a big impression... no matter how old the other person, you have to build and maintain trust... and if the other person starts thinking that you break your promises, he or she will stop believing the promises you make...

Several years ago when I was a teenager, I once asked my dad if I could try Black Label whiskey... yes that's the kind of gal I am... I had no problem asking my parents permission for these things but I never did things behind their back if they said no... So anyways, I asked and my dad promised me that when I got into Engineering college, he would let me drink...

Fast forward 2 years.... I had cleared the State Engineering Entrance exam and was in Bhopal with my dad for selecting a college and branch. That night after finishing all formalities, we had a celebration dinner at a restaurant. My father ordered a drink for himself. I promptly reminded him about his promise and asked if he could order one for me too... My dad look at me laughing and said "My job as a parent is like a politician. I make promises to get things done, but I hardly ever fulfill them..." We both had a good laugh over it. Now I was mature enough to not be heartbroken over a broken promise, especially when I knew how much my Dad loved me. He always came through for me where it mattered... and that was enough for me.

But for a young child or even a toddler, a broken promise is a big deal... When a parent makes a promise to a child, however small or big, fulfilling the promise tells them that it's OK to trust their parent's word. A broken promise on the other hand evokes mistrust...

So a few months back, when I made a promise to Rithik, I went out of the way to keep it. It was "Sunglasses day" in Rithik's class and the whole morning, Rithik ran around the house boasting his fancy sunglasses, but when we reached school we realized that we left the glasses at home... Rithik did not throw a tantrum, he just started sobbing slowly... which was even worse because that meant he was really sad... a tantrum is easy to ignore, but this was real sadness...

I promised him that I will ask Daddy to get his glasses and he will get his glasses soon. His teacher told me not to worry and that he will be fine in 10 minutes. When I called hubby, he said the same... The truth was that even I knew that he will be fine in 10 minutes, but I also knew that Rithik had a good memory when it came to promises. He was going to remember this day for a long time and I wanted him to believe that he could trust my word. I went back home, got his glasses and delivered them to his class.

I cannot tell you how happy Rithik was once he saw me with his Sunglasses. When I picked him up that afternoon, he was still running around wearing them. And at that moment, the morning hassle seemed all worth it!

So my friends, Promise only what you can deliver. Then deliver more than you promise!

Signing off,
Shilpa, Reya and Rithik


  1. Agree. Have always followed this same principle myself. Good to see you take it so seriously :)

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