PROMISES are made daily. A promise lets someone know that something will or will not be done. Robin Thompson, author of Be The Best You Can Be – A Guide To Etiquette and Self Improvement for Children and Teens says “one of the best compliments to receive is that you keep your word.”
A promise is a pledge to oneself or someone else. According to "Why Keeping Your Promise Is Good For You" in Psychology Today, an unkept promise to someone may be misinterpreted or can communicate a negative message. Something else trumped the commitment. Others may perceive one is not responsible or dependable, even if the promise broken is small. Enough forgotten promises can spoil a relationship.
Sometimes a task or expectation may be overwhelming. Responses that utilize social skills may sound like, “I’m sorry I can’t,” “I apologize, but I am not comfortable with that,” or “I just won’t be able to take the time at this moment.” Make promises that can be kept or assure someone something will be completed only if that is the true intent. It is easier to let others know ahead of time that the task cannot be completed, so alternate plans can be arranged. Using manners to politely decline an invitation shows appropriate social etiquette as much as accepting.
Simple steps from ehow.com to work on keeping a promise:
Assessing the situation, whether taking out the garbage or a deeper emotional commitment, one must ask if a conclusion will be possible. Next, make a list of what is needed to follow through to completion or integration into daily activities. Using a checklist can help one visualize accomplishments along the way; while notes help chart development. Finally, anticipating changes and communicating progress with others allows time for assistance if required.
In conclusion, children learn by example. Unfulfilled promises send inconsistent and mixed messages. Keeping our word builds character and reinforces concepts of responsibility, strong values and dependability. Promising a child a trip to the movies only after the toys have been cleaned up can work. I promise!