Saturday, January 24, 2009

Breaking Promises

Posted by Tracy Wainwright at 10:27 AM
Do you ever break promises to your children? It seems to me that I have more often than usual lately. I try to be very careful in what I promise to my children. I don't want to be an untrustworthy person to them. I generally will say "I'll do my best" or "We'll have to see." But occasionally I'll say "I promise." When I do, it always sticks in my mind and I do my best to follow through. Sometimes, however, I let time and the promise slip away. It's usually when I've promised that we'll do something specific the next day or before the end of the day, when I've run out of time or energy to do the requested task immediately. Somehow the next day or rest of the day seems to slip through my fingers. The promised activity gets left hanging, waiting.

Sometimes it's not very traumatic. The child has gotten distracted and forgets, too. Other times he or she remembers and asks, usually at a point in time when it's impossible (or at least impractical) to follow through. As much as I try to and would like to avoid these situations I have learned to make them a learning opportunity - for both my children and for me.

First, it gives me a chance to apologize. We ask our children to apologize constantly, but rarely model it ourselves. It's important for my children to learn that being humble, accepting responsibility, and asking forgiveness is not only okay, but healthy. These are things I've had to work on developing as an adult and I want to give my children a head start on tools that will help them in all their future relationships.

Second, it gives me a chance to be human. Children often see parents as super-human. They're perfect. So when mistakes occur or they suddenly realize that their parents are fallible, it's a major disappointment. I am as human and fallible as it gets. I want to have a level of transparency that allows my children to see me, and thus relate to me, as a real person. It also lets them know that when they make mistakes it's just part of life. We all have weaknesses. It's healthy and beneficial to acknowledge them, work on them, and move on.

Third, it allows my children to experience disappointment. I don't think there's much that a parent can compare to watching their child be disappointed. It tugs at the heart and we generally do everything we can to prevent it. I'm the same way. I try to prevent it as much as possible, but a little disappointment is a natural part of life. I don't want to be the cause of it, and am usually not directly (it usually occurs when they can't have or do something they want), but when it does happen it helps me walk them through the process of feeling, coping with, and moving past disappointment. Because I know they're going to experience disappointment in their lives, I want to help prepare them to handle those situations in healthy ways.

Lastly, it reminds me that I have a Father who never breaks His promises. Psalm 145:13 says The LORD is faithful to all his promises and loving toward all he has made. I know through my experiences that this is true. I have also learned that I have to be in communication with Him to truly know what His promises are. Whenever I've been disappointed by something in my life and thought that maybe God didn't keep a promise, I eventually learn that I had a misunderstanding or wasn't looking to Him and His Word to find out what His promises really are. He didn't promise that things would be easy - He promised to sustain me through the hard times. He didn't promise I wouldn't hurt - He promised to heal me. He didn't promise to give me everything I want when I want it - He promised to provide everything I need at the right time.

His promises are true, and in some strange way when I am at my most human and fallible and break promises to my children, it reminds me of all the promises God's never broken and that He never will.

0 comments on "Breaking Promises"

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Breaking Promises

Do you ever break promises to your children? It seems to me that I have more often than usual lately. I try to be very careful in what I promise to my children. I don't want to be an untrustworthy person to them. I generally will say "I'll do my best" or "We'll have to see." But occasionally I'll say "I promise." When I do, it always sticks in my mind and I do my best to follow through. Sometimes, however, I let time and the promise slip away. It's usually when I've promised that we'll do something specific the next day or before the end of the day, when I've run out of time or energy to do the requested task immediately. Somehow the next day or rest of the day seems to slip through my fingers. The promised activity gets left hanging, waiting.

Sometimes it's not very traumatic. The child has gotten distracted and forgets, too. Other times he or she remembers and asks, usually at a point in time when it's impossible (or at least impractical) to follow through. As much as I try to and would like to avoid these situations I have learned to make them a learning opportunity - for both my children and for me.

First, it gives me a chance to apologize. We ask our children to apologize constantly, but rarely model it ourselves. It's important for my children to learn that being humble, accepting responsibility, and asking forgiveness is not only okay, but healthy. These are things I've had to work on developing as an adult and I want to give my children a head start on tools that will help them in all their future relationships.

Second, it gives me a chance to be human. Children often see parents as super-human. They're perfect. So when mistakes occur or they suddenly realize that their parents are fallible, it's a major disappointment. I am as human and fallible as it gets. I want to have a level of transparency that allows my children to see me, and thus relate to me, as a real person. It also lets them know that when they make mistakes it's just part of life. We all have weaknesses. It's healthy and beneficial to acknowledge them, work on them, and move on.

Third, it allows my children to experience disappointment. I don't think there's much that a parent can compare to watching their child be disappointed. It tugs at the heart and we generally do everything we can to prevent it. I'm the same way. I try to prevent it as much as possible, but a little disappointment is a natural part of life. I don't want to be the cause of it, and am usually not directly (it usually occurs when they can't have or do something they want), but when it does happen it helps me walk them through the process of feeling, coping with, and moving past disappointment. Because I know they're going to experience disappointment in their lives, I want to help prepare them to handle those situations in healthy ways.

Lastly, it reminds me that I have a Father who never breaks His promises. Psalm 145:13 says The LORD is faithful to all his promises and loving toward all he has made. I know through my experiences that this is true. I have also learned that I have to be in communication with Him to truly know what His promises are. Whenever I've been disappointed by something in my life and thought that maybe God didn't keep a promise, I eventually learn that I had a misunderstanding or wasn't looking to Him and His Word to find out what His promises really are. He didn't promise that things would be easy - He promised to sustain me through the hard times. He didn't promise I wouldn't hurt - He promised to heal me. He didn't promise to give me everything I want when I want it - He promised to provide everything I need at the right time.

His promises are true, and in some strange way when I am at my most human and fallible and break promises to my children, it reminds me of all the promises God's never broken and that He never will.

0 comments:

 

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