Promises

I carry Jemma, swaying her as I try to put her to sleep for her first nap, and step out of her room. Next to her room is the bathroom and I look at the bath and am reminded of what I had told her last night.

Jemma loves taking baths lately. If she can get in, she’ll crawl as fast as she can up to the bathtub in ‘her’ bathroom, and peer over, reaching for her mini tub. She’ll exclaim and point. “Ba” is bath. She gets so excited and pulls at her clothes.

Last night, it was already her bedtime and too late for a bath. So while I took her hand and led her away, I told her she’d take a bath tomorrow. The thought came, ‘I’d better not forget to give her a bath and make time for it tomorrow.’

If  I think about it, I could of said there’s no time, that she’s just not getting a bath, and it would have been just fine. But for some reason I said “tomorrow.” Giving her hope that she’ll get one just not at that time. And in saying it that way, it was the tendency to promise it for another time to get her to act a certain way now.

*

Why is it we say things we don’t even have to? And over time, if we don’t follow up, our word starts to lose it’s value.

“Let’s do it another time.” “Let’s meet another time.” As if to soften the excuse of not doing it now when we sometimes don’t intend to follow up or don’t want to. Or we’ll get busy and forget.

*

So today, with a glance at the bath, I was reminded that I had told her she’d get a bath. That since I had told her so, it needed to happen.

I believe words have power and weight. They have big impact. I, myself, am very much a words person.

So if it becomes an inconvenience or I go too late into her bedtime, I can’t make excuses. I either make it a priority to start earlier, or cut into her bedtime, but she gets a bath!

*

Sometimes we say things because we don’t want to do something at the moment. Perhaps there’s no time or we’re too tired or we’ve changed our mind. We might make an excuse. So if we do, we need to follow through. I need to follow through. I need to keep my word because it’s like a promise.

We at first believe. With experiences, based on if they are positive or negative, our believing might go one way or the other. We build confidence. We start trusting. Or we start to doubt. We start to lack trust.

I want my daughter to know she can always believe me. That if I say, “‘We will play later,” she knows, we will play later. That my words aren’t excuses or diversions. That my promises will hold. I don’t want my daughter to get used to lies, to accept them as OK. She is only a year old, but that is where it starts to form. I might think it’s OK once, she won’t remember, but it all builds upon each other. One day, she might not remember, one day she might not think of it and the next, she’ll think that is the norm, and will follow my own footsteps. And worse, she won’t believe me.

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