Thursday, March 24, 2011

What Happened to Commitment

"What happened to commitment?" my friend asked me yesterday. "Why do people think that there is always a way out?"

There is a new movement in many marriages to stand by their commitment. Instead of looking for ways to part amicably, they are going to counseling to find their way back to a commitment they made 'for better or worse'. These couples are struggling with their relationships feeling trapped, so they turn to their commitment realizing that they need to find their way back. Bravo for them.

Commitment should not be a tangible word. It should mean what it means.

Commitment. The act of pledging oneself, obligating, involvement.

I think that continual lack of commitment is a weakness. Giving oneself to a pledge shows strength of character. For the other person, it shows true trust in accepting the commitment. Shouldn't the word mean more?

Over the years I have seen parents slough off a commitment to a child. Children are not born with an understanding that someone would 'break a promise' or just ignore a prior commitment. We adults know it happens. Disappointment is not a surprise. In fact, I think we often expect it. But for the child? They are so innocent. They believe in we adults. The words we say to them must be true. Why wouldn't they be? So why is it that so many adults don't hesitate to put off the child?

Breaking a commitment should not be done lightly. A commitment is like a promise. A commitment is a trust. A commitment should be 'our word' given.

We weren't given commitments when I was a child. I think Mom and Dad knew that they might not be able to follow through financially or if something came up on the farm, plans would change. Our parents were committed to one another and the farm. They were committed to the health and safety of their children. Those things we knew and trusted.

I value the word commitment. I don't know that I always have, but I have seen what happens to a child when a commitment is broken. Yes, it happens, much too often. Commitment. A very strong word that can scar if not handled correctly.

My grandchildren are precious. I hope that I teach them about commitment by the life I lead and the decisions I make. Disappointing one of them is not acceptable, and if by some chance it has to happen, they will know that it is not done lightly.



  1. Trust is so easily dismissed these day, along with commitment that it's no wonder our children learn no sense of it.
    If you put a prenuptial agreement or think there's a chance you'll be divorced, then take the phrase "till death do us part" out of your vows.

  2. Better yet, Jake, don't get married. It never works with one foot out the door.