It’s generally dangerous to make a promise.
My kids occasionally make promises that are broken from the time the words leave their mouths. One daughter recently said, “I brushed my teeth, Dad. I promise.”
Instead of reassuring me with those two words, she actually piqued my curiosity. There was no need to promise. I didn’t question her, so why did she promise? After the “I promise” statement, I went to the bathroom to check the status of her toothbrush. Her four-year-old-eyes got really wide when I returned and told her that she still had a ball of unused toothpaste on her toothbrush.
So, promises can be hard. They can even be dangerous. But, in spite of that, here’s my attempt at making some lasting promises to my children.
1. I will daily demonstrate – in front of you – my love for God. I don’t want you to simply hear about Him at church; I want you to see Him in the everyday activities of our home.
2. I will love your Mom unconditionally. I’ve promised to love her for better or worse as long as we both live. Thankfully, with your Mom, that’s been a very easy promise to keep. And regardless of what circumstances life throws at us, I will always love her unconditionally.
3. I will love you unconditionally. No matter what you do or how you do it…no matter how you feel about me…I will never stop loving you.
4. The order of those statements will never change. I am convinced that the greatest gift I can give your Mom is my genuine, ongoing relationship with Jesus. And following that, the greatest gift I can give you is the gift of a loving, healthy relationship with your Mom.
5. I will never stop praying for you.
6. I will frustrate you at times because I don’t give you the easy option. But I want you to know that the easiest option is typically not the best option…and I want you to have the very best.
7. I will not buy you everything that you want, but I will do whatever is necessary to provide you with everything you need. And throughout life, I will teach you the difference between wants and needs.One of the most powerful gifts I can give to you is the gift of a generous spirit. When you give, you are imitating God…and that leads back to point #1 – the greatest gift of all.
8. I will always do my best to listen to you. What you say with your words, and with your actions, will always be important to me.
9. I will be your friend, but never at the expense of being your parent. That’s kind of related to the needs and wants issue I mentioned earlier. I think we want to be friends. But, I know that we need to relate to each other as parent and child first.
If these promises resonate with you, you might want to read Parent Shift. It will be released in early April, 2013. So, bookmark this site – or better yet – sign up for the newsletter to get official announcements (and potentially a free copy of the book).