By: Gail Stone
“At the end of the day all you have is your word, your integrity as you build relationships with transparency in life” Brad Taylor
This was one of the most poignant, everlasting lessons that I ever learned - "All you have is Your Word" - and it remains with me every day. Do I sometimes falter? Yes, but I'm haunted for the rest of the day because I know how important it is!
And if I do falter, due to extenuating, very important circumstances, I will always acknowledge that I very much regret having broken my word.
Our 'word' defines us, and when we break it, there are prices to be paid in the relationships that make up our lives - home, work, family, friends, responsibilities - all of which entail being accountable and doing what you say you're going to do.
The arena where your word is most significant and felt is with your children. I'm going to go even further to say, most pertinent, with children from divorced parents. This has a huge impact for two main reasons.
- Your limited time with your children is paramount.
- It has been scientifically proven that about 80% of a child's self image and perception of the world in terms of himself and others, is established by the age of 4. Needless to say, you don't want to tamper with that delicate window of time by not keeping your word which is almost the same as lying. It can have devastating ramifications to your relationship with them for the rest of your lives.
Trust is one of the most necessary/valuable ingredients of any solid, meaningful relationship.
Breaking your word with your children, "I'm sorry honey, I can't take you to the zoo today like I said I would" or worse, by being a "no show", can destroy their confidence in people and in themselves permanently. A child could easily conclude, "I'm just not loveable or worthy or my Mom/Dad would never break their word to me."
Carrying this concept even further, a child could transfer that self-doubt to significant others in their lives. Readers, especially with our children's fragile development in the early years, we are talking about very serious ramifications when one does not keep their word. To drive home the seriousness, doubting your self worth can lead to addiction. . .even suicide.
People that know me know that I am very positive and upbeat. On this subject, I don't want to mince any words regarding the gravity when violated. Please think about a time in your life when someone you cared about broke their word to you. It didn't feel good and may have had a lasting effect on your relationship. You don't want to be the perpertrator of that empty feeling nor damage an important relationship.
This concept carries over to many areas of our lives that we encounter every day. Here's another one, being late is not only inconsiderate, and generally not tolerated, being late is breaking your word. Now, can emergencies/exceptions arise? Of course. I believe that, though damage has been down, it is very important to acknowledge those circumstances. This is because it is the considerate thing to do and necessary to maintain any renewed confidence for a meaningful, trusting relationship moving forward. Please don't blow off your children when they are at such a vulnerable state. We are responsible for shaping them into the considerate adults we want them to become.
Keeping your word can also have positive growth results. In our busy lives, you'll want to hone your organizational skills. Be mindful of your schedule so that you can keep your word becomes an admirable trait of the wonderful, reliable person that you are! In turn, you will feel better about yourself and become a more powerful person.
You've heard me speak about "Leadership of Self." Having responsibility for your word is definitely a characteristic of leadership. How can people rely upon you if you can't rely upon yourself? We are as good as our word - please covet it as you do yourself, your children and anything near and dear to your heart.