In early December of 1984 Zach, who was almost two, came walking out of his Sunday school class carrying a paper angel covered in blue and yellow crayon scribbles. The angel had a strip of paper on each side of the bottom of the skirt that had been taped together to form a circle. The purpose of this angel: to sit on the top of a Christmas tree.
When Zach proudly handed me the paper angel I promised we would put it on top of the tree as soon as we got home and that it would sit on top of my Christmas tree ‘forever’ (as long as I was living).
So would you like to guess what is sitting on top of my Christmas tree this year—just like every year beginning in 1984? That’s right. It’s the paper angel Zach made. Hey, I promised and promises are meant to be kept.
When you make a promise to your children (or anyone, for that matter) you are putting your integrity on the line and are providing your children with the answer to the question of whether or not they can trust you…really trust you. When you keep your promises your children see you as safe and trustworthy. Breaking your promises however, is unsettling to your children. They feel exposed and vulnerable. They don’t know when to trust you and when not to. If this happens very often, they will quit trusting you altogether. And when this happens, you lose their respect, as well.
I made the promise to Zach that day because a) I wanted him to know how much I valued his efforts b) I wanted to make him feel special c) I wanted to establish a tradition for our little family. I’ve kept the promise I made to Zach all those years ago because a) I want him to always know my word is good and that he can trust me no matter what and b) because I LOVE that little paper angel.
Over the next few years our little family doubled in size from three to six. Promises were made to each of the girls (and kept). More traditions were added along the way, as well, but none replaced the tradition of our paper tree angel because I promised, and promises are meant to be kept.
How well do you keep the promises you make to your children? Do you keep them or do you promise things in an effort to gain compliance or a little peace and quiet? I hope you keep them because (in case you haven't picked up on it yet) promises are meant to be kept.
Copyright 2015 Darla Noble. No part of this can be copied or used without permission from the author.