No. 1051



If you will go back with me several generations in our country, you will find a time when a large percentage of our population did business on a handshake. I am from that generation. For me, you don’t need a lawyer or a contract to do business. A simple handshake and a person’s word is all I need. I have made it pretty well over the past 50 years using this concept as my guide, making very few promises that I could not keep, and doing my best to learn from my mistakes -- and yes, there have been a good number of those.
Using these thoughts as a backdrop, I would like to tell you why I believe it is very important to keep our promises. It has been said that we are never too old to learn, and to be sure, experience is still one of our best teachers. There is still great opportunity for real success in America for those who understand that telling and living the “truth” is the only foundation that will endure and stand the test of time. We certainly have a lot of room for improvement when it comes to keeping our promises.
I have an attorney friend who works with the juvenile court system in our community. He tells me that many of today’s youth are really messed up and have real problems. Sadly, the courts will not allow the only thing that offers real hope, the word of God, to be a part of the solution. For me, it is quite an irony when we can’t teach the Bible in our public schools but these same children can get it when they get to prison. Go figure.
To use a legal term, I would like to build a case for why I believe it is very important to always keep our promises. It is common knowledge that the foundation for our society is the home, and it depends largely on how parents rear and teach their children as to what kind of society we will have.
Keeping this in mind, here is one of the most important promises any person can ever make. It is found in the marriage ceremony when both the man and woman respond to this question: “Do you promise to love, honor, cherish and protect him or her, forsaking all others and holding only to each other forevermore?” When someone said, “show me the homes of a nation and I will show you what kind of nation you have,” truer words were never spoken. Today we have a divorce rate of about 50 percent, which means that half of all marriages end in divorce. Following this line of thinking, it also means that when the home breaks down, society breaks down, too.
There is hope, and it is the purpose of my column today. We all make mistakes, but when we can learn from them and not repeat the same ones over and over again, things will be much better for us. As you read this, I hope you will think about what I am saying and not only make a personal commitment to keep the promises you make to others, but to also influence those you care about to do the same.
There is no limit to the examples we can use to see the benefits of always keeping our promises. When a person gets elected to office, they promise the voters that they will faithfully execute the duties of that office. When we go to work for an employer we promise to give an honest day’s work for an honest day’s pay. When we buy something on time, we promise to pay those extending the credit back in a timely manner.
As you can easily see, each day of our lives we make promises, and when we make them sparingly and keep them faithfully, we are building a solid foundation for our future. In like manner, when we don’t keep our promises we are building on sand, and it is then just a question of time until our reputation is ruined.
(EDITOR’S NOTE: THE DEAL OF THE CENTURY – Begin your day on a positive note – 365 days for $12. This will benefit the Bookcase for Every Child project. Go to to subscribe.)