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By: Chelsea Davis-Bibb, M.Ed.

When was the last time someone told you they were going to do something and they didn’t? When was the last time that you told someone that you were going to do something, only for you to not follow through? This seems to happen too often, and to be honest, I’m sick of it. My parents have taught me so many things that are important, and one of those things is to “say what you mean, and mean what you say.” Why is that so hard for people to do? Back in the day, before there were contracts, and etc.… people just had their word. Keeping your word was part of a principle that was highly respected. What happened to that? People now just don’t care.

 

Lewis B. Smedes stated, “Promise keeping is a powerful means of grace in a time when people hardly depend on each other to remember and live by their word.” One of the issues is, people aren’t living by their word. They will say one thing, but do another. When people break a promise, or a commitment that they agreed to, I don’t think they realize the damage that they have done. At one point in time, someone’s word was all you had. You could depend on that person, and trust to them to do what they said they were going to do. In today’s time, if someone tells me they’re going to do something, in my mind, I always have that “I’ll believe it when I see it mindset.”

 

There are a few reasons why I believe people don’t keep their word anymore.

  1. People are selfish– people only care about themselves, and how something will benefit them. I am not sure how the world has gotten this way, but it seems to worsen day-by-day.
  2. It’s been a repeated cycle– so many people are used to people not following through that the trend has been recycled. For younger generations, they mimic what they see and hear. So if someone isn’t properly showing them the importance of staying committed to what they agreed to, then it just becomes a repeated cycle.
  3. People want to be more than what they are– we live in a society where everyone wants to “be someone.” In reality, everyone is someone, but to some, that isn’t enough. Some people make promises to make it seem like they are greater than who they are. They say, “I can do this” or “I can do that,” but in reality they are just talking out the side of their mouth.

 

There are a few reasons why it’s important to keep your word.

  1. It’s how you build relationships– when you keep your word, people can trust you and depend on you. They are willing to help you with whatever you may need simply because you stuck to your word. Due to this, you can build a healthy and strong relationship with someone whether it is on a personal level, or even on a professional level.
  2. You keep a good image– no one wants to be looked upon as a liar, or simply that person who just says whatever and doesn’t mean any of it. Who wants to be around someone like that? You want to always have a good reputation, and you should want people to know that they can count on you.
  3. It’s not that hard to do- keeping your word isn’t rocket science; it’s simple. More importantly, if you say something, and you can’t follow through, then speak up and let that person know. You rather tell them you can’t than to keep them thinking you can, only to find out that you couldn’t keep your commitment. It’s just the right thing to do, and I wish people could understand that.

 

I can’t tell you how many times I have been disappointed, or left to fend for myself because someone didn’t follow through. It’s frustrating, and at times, it makes you not want to do anything for anyone else. However, I can’t stop being who I am because of someone else. With that being said, despite how many times I’ve been let down in the past, if I tell someone I’m going to do something, then that person has my word. It means something for me to keep it, because I know it means so much more to them.

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