Day 21: Keeping Promises

By December 2, 2009Life changing moments

Growing up, one of the things my parents did exceptionally well was to keep promises.  It didn’t matter whether that promise was picking my sister and me up from school on time or taking us to Europe for spring vacation.  Moreover, “promise” is akin to a sacred word in my family.   It is only offered when the person intends on following through.  The only time I can even remember a broken promise in my family, occurred when I was 9-years-old, and my sister and I pleaded with my father to have a pond in our backyard.  We moved from that home before the pond was built, but my dad exchanged the promise of a pond for a pool in our new house.   I clearly remember the three of us agreeing that the promise had been fulfilled.

Feels good to keep a promise!

I wrote down all the promises I haven’t kept to myself and to others last night.  The list included 15 items.  Some were as small as not sending an e-mail and others were as significant as not completing my book.  When I don’t do all that I say I will, no matter how minor, it nags at me and prevents me from completely enjoying the present moment.  This is largely the reason, I articulate all I want to accomplish.  In voicing my dreams, I am propelled to take action.

By May 12, 2010, I promise to fulfill all my unkept promises.  I already crossed three off my list this morning.  The three most important on my list are promises to myself: to complete the manuscript for my book, to submit my writing to various publications, and to try out for a play.

What are you willing to promise?

promise (n.) Look up promise at
(as defined by
c.1400, from L. promissum “a promise,” noun use of neuter pp. of promittere “send forth, foretell, promise,” from pro- “before” + mittere “to put, send” (see mission). Ground sense is “declaration made about the future, about some act to be done or not done.” The verb is attested from c.1420. Promised land (1538) is a ref. to the land of Canaan promised to Abraham and his progeny (Heb. xi.9, etc.; Gk. ten ges tes epangelias). Promising “showing signs of future excellence” is from 1601.

Join the discussion 9 Comments

  • Thomas says:

    Hi~~I promise to keep my study until the graduate entrance examination ~

  • tobeme says:

    This is an excellent exercise,thanks for sharing. Much too often a “promise” has become synonymous with a white lie. I once had someone in my life who would turn everything I said into “you promised”, the fact was that I would say that I would try to do something and if in the end I could not or did not do it, she would exclaim that “You promised”. I am very careful with the word promise, like you I take promises very seriously. Everything a person said turned into a promise for this person and in the end created much angst for everyone.

  • Luca says:

    Ciao Jackie,
    I liked this one. I also take the word and concept of “promise” very carefully. Often ppl or – even worse – dear friends give me a weird and puzzled look when I tell them I cannot promise “I would go visit them” or “I would send them the pictures” or anythig that people usually ask between friends. I prefer to say “I will do my best, but cannot promise”. It may sound silly, but I don’t like answering “yes” when I am not sure I can keep the promise to that deat person, so I prefer to disappoint them from the start by saying “not sure!”. Maybe this is a subtle way to NOT keep promise or be bound to it? I don’t know…sure, your post gave me material to think about.
    I’m keeping eyes on my mailbox…un bacio!

  • Gabby Huerta says:

    I really enjoyed this post. I promise to stop wasting so much time on Facebook games (guiltyguiltyguilty) and promise to start training for that 10k.

    I like this.

  • Jacqueline says:

    I’m happy to hear how important promises are for other people! Thanks to all of you for commenting!

  • PROMISES…..An interesting concept to think about before we even make one of them to any soul on this Earth…….

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