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.
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.)
- (as defined by etymology.com)
- 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.