” But you promised..”
Growing up in what I consider a large family in comparison to most these days,surrounded by an even larger network of extended family, I heard those words a lot.Now older I still hear it from my younger cousins and from the children in the five differnet families I babysit for. That hurt call of a child not getting what they were promised and pleading for it , reminding the promiser that after all they did promise it.I, like many ,when I am the promiser find myself torn between keeping what to me seemed like a silly promise and between giving the child what they want.Most of the time when I make those promises it is to get something on my end of the deal: example, if you pick up your toys real good today you can have some ice cream; And after all of the toys are cleared away the little mind chirps up, “Can I have some ice cream now?” This is usually when I realize that I had simply said that to get them to do something, which is not the best method of going about things but somtimes seems to be the only way to go about things.Then you look in the freezer and realize you don’t even have any ice cream to give them so even if you wanted to you could not keep that promise.It may seem that all the kids care about is the end goal not the promise itself, the ice cream and not your disloyality. I can almost agree with that, even I feel the same when somebody breaks a promise to me; first, anger at not getting what they told me I would and second; heart shattering hurt at having my trust in them violated. Children do think on a much simpler scale, SOMETIMES, but I think that is is vastly unfair to think that all they care about is that bowl of ice cream. A person’s word choice can say a lot about how they feel about something even if it seems they aren’t processing it like that. I have had children in that situation say ” But I want ice cream.” The fact that a kid says ” but you promised,” seems to me to be more of a trust violation then hunger for a sugary dessert.A promise is full of trust,love, loyalty and hope for something to come. Some of the biggest promises ever made would have changed the entire world if they had not been kept, and it took a lot of trust for both parties to make those promises.I know when we are exhausted and need little children to listen, sometimes we find that a little promise of ice cream, a little bribe so to speak, works best. I also think that it may seem so small and insignificant that we never think about it, but those are promises too and some of the first encounters with promises our youth will get. Do we want our children to grow up thinking we are distrustful or that they ought to be? Do we want our children to grow up feeling like they will always have to remind us that we promised? Worse of all, do we want them to grow up KNOWING that we will never keep our promises to them?
I think there is a lot of mistrust in our world currently. some of which seems to be based on the reality of what we face each and every day: Can you envision a world where we all trust each other more and keep our promises? I can! It looks a lot like the care, innocence and boldness upon a child’s face.
I would love to hear how you think of this situation and if it made you see promises any differently. Thank you as always for reading and sharing your thoughts with me.
-Wishing you the brightest of days,Eva
” Me and the pen, we are one. If its ink would cease to flow, my ink would cease to flow.’