It has been a busy November/December for me. I have been busy sewing for a craft market I participated in and for Christmas gifts. One of the things I have been hand sewing are ornaments out of felted wool sweaters. I also have been making journal covers and a couple of tote bags. (Any tips on taking better photographs? I just can't seem to get it right!)
As the new year is almost upon us, I think of new year resolutions, and how they only tend to last a short while. Last summer, I wrote about the word "promise", which kind of reminds me of a new years resolution. We say things we intend to do, then never follow through.
Having children has taught me many things I could have never learned in school. One of those things is to never make a promise I cannot keep. “But you promised to take us to Dairy Queen!” If I do not take them, not only will the kids be angry with me, but they will soon stop believing in my promises. I came to the realization that it is so much easier to not promise anything, ever. Instead, I tell my kids things like “perhaps we’ll go to Target on Wednesday.” They hate when I use the word “perhaps”, but it keeps me out of trouble.
As a lover of words, I will often look up a word in the dictionary to get its true definition. It’s fascinating to find the real meaning of the words we often use, and to see how the culture has altered their meaning. In my copy of Webster’s New World Dictionary (a 1998 edition I found at a garage sale) the word promise is defined as “an oral or written agreement to do or not to do something; vow.” A vow is defined as a “solemn promise or pledge.” Pretty serious stuff.
I have a feeling most people today use the word without much thought to its true meaning. I think the current definition of the word promise should be “a word to use to get someone off your back or to win favor from someone; a light, fluffy word, not to be taken seriously.”
If my kids are bugging me to go somewhere, and I say “not today, but I promise I’ll take you tomorrow,” I get relief for the day, but come tomorrow… the kids do not forget. Men promise to call a girl after a date, even when they have no intention of doing so. It’s a wimpy way to act, in my opinion. As for winning favor from people, think of politicians and their campaign promises. And, of course, the wedding vow; words spoken without much thought to their true meaning.
I believe in saying yes when I mean yes, and no when I mean no. It’s as simple as that. Unless I am willing to stand by my promise and fulfill it, I won’t even go there. As for my kids, they are learning to adjust to my non-committal ways. Perhaps they too will learn to take the word promise a little more seriously.
“Let your ‘Yes’ mean ‘Yes’ and your ‘No’ mean ‘No.’ Anything more is from the evil one.” Matthew 5:37
Merry Christmas to everyone! May the peace of the Lord Jesus be with you always!