Asad had been asking his friend and class fellow Naveed, to help him understand the new chapter on algebra equations.
Somehow math does not come to him easily, although he is good in literature and other subjects and is always eager to help out his classmates.
The two live at walking distance to each other and Naveed keeps on saying, “I promise you, I will come to your place tomorrow or ask you to come over and then I will explain the chapter to you.”
After wasting a week, Asad finally realises that Naveed is just stalling him by making false promises and has no intention of keeping his word, so he must seek help somewhere else.
Mummy is angry with Shirmeen because she has created a mess in her room. Throughout her exams, she kept on asking her mother not to clear up her bedroom as she had her notes and books strewn all around and did not want them to be misplaced.
“I promise you I will clear up everything myself once my exams are over,” she kept on telling her mother. But with more than a week after her papers are finally over, her room is still in the same condition. She is busy catching up on her sleep, hanging out with friends or browsing on the internet or simply doing nothing.
Whenever Mummy reminds her of her promise, Shirmeen has the same reply, “No Mummy! I am not in the mood today; I swear I will clear up everything tomorrow!”
Most of us do not realise that a promise is a word of honour, something we should consider our duty to keep once we have made it! So we should be careful before making a promise. Instead of making it a tool to put off things we do not want to do, we should only commit ourselves when we are sure we will do the task. According to an anonymous quote, “Promise only what you can deliver. Then deliver more than you have promised”.
The best way to keep a promise is not to make one in haste! So do not rush yourself into a commitment. If someone asks you for a favour, ask for some time to think it over before replying. Make sure that you want to do what you are being asked, and then be clear on what you are promising and what would be expected from you. Setting deadlines to do something often helps a lot.
The famous Swiss educationist, essayist and philosopher Jean Jacques Rousseau once said, “Those that are most slow in making a promise are the most faithful in the performance of it”.
Promises are made not only with the people around us; sometimes we make commitments to ourselves too. Your doctor thinks that you are getting obese and need to shed some kilos; you pledge that you will avoid all junk foods until you reach your required weight. Your result is not up to your (or your parents) expectations. And then you make a commitment with yourself that you will not waste time on television, computer and just hanging around with friends. But, time and again, you give in to temptation and break your promise.
“Only this one time” is the frame of mind which often makes us go back on a vow we have made with ourselves. And this leads to a loss of our self-esteem and confidence. It is like sending the message to our brain that we do not value our own word. Instead of making excuses for ourselves by stating the reasons we had to go back on a pledge, we should push and motivate ourselves and work a bit harder to fulfil our word.
There may be times when we are compelled to break a promise due to unavoidable circumstances. Maybe you had committed to your mother that you would look after a younger sibling while she goes to visit her ailing parent. But you feel you will not be able to afford the time due to lots of homework or a test the next day.
Feel free to discuss your problem and apologise for not being able to keep the promise. That will make her realise your difficulty, and if you have always been true to your word, she would certainly understand and think of an alternative which would suit you.
A promise may be regarding something not very important, like calling back a friend, replying to a letter or e-mail, visiting a relative or running an errand for your mother; once you have given your word, be sure to fulfil it! It is a social responsibility as well as a part of a good and likeable personality. People around you will trust you only when you are true to your word.
Otherwise they will label you as a disorganised or an irresponsible person.
So instead of taking promises as a means to put off things you do not consider important or just do not want or simply feel lazy about, you should consider them to be sacred and make all efforts to fulfil something you have pledged to do.