Every three year old knows the value of a promise.
Woe betide anyone who lies to a 3-year old. Promise them a thing as humble as chewing gum, and don’t follow through on that promise, and you can be assured of the sky falling on your heads.
My father, a II World War veteran, carefully taught me what my word was worth. He taught me what trust meant. You mean what you say, and you say what you mean. This little girl followed meticulously in his footsteps, and was called Satyavadi Harishchandra in school – the king who sold himself, his wife and child into slavery, rather than break his promise.
As a child, I was allowed to read anyone’s answers during a test, and I was allowed to walk up to the teacher and ask the answer to a question presented during a test while the test was going on. The teachers knew I wasn’t going to pen the answer down if I didn’t know it. I used to come back from school at 7 p.m., on rare occasions even at 1 a.m., it never crossing my parents’ minds that I might be misusing my freedom. For I never did.
My parents taught me, 6:00 pm does not mean 6:01. When you say you’ll be home by 6, you’ll be home earlier. To be on the safe side, say you’ll be home at 12, but you will come back by the time you promised.
In school I used to go up to the teacher and confess if I hadn’t done the homework. And if the teacher punished me, I would stand in class or outside class as instructed, my honor intact.
We lose that lesson somewhere along the way.
We are surrounded by the corpses of promises. A word means about as much as a soggy napkin.
Promises from leaders, political parties. Don’t they realize they harm themselves and the fabric of society when they make false promises?
Promises from corporations ‘our products have been tested and found to be safe’.
Promises from people you have meetings with ‘I’ll meet you at 2 p.m.’
And for incarcerated people, the unfulfilled promise of justice. Of a fair society.
Promises from lawyers ‘you train for your Ironman; I promise I’ll get you freed by then, and I intend to keep my promises’. ‘I’ll send you the draft by evening.’ ‘I’ll call you tomorrow’.
I want to ask all these people: how do you sleep at night?
As a comedian, as a healer, I would kill myself if I don’t fulfill my promise as an entertainer. Imagine what a client would go through if I promise to hold a session to help them and then don’t show/ don’t deliver on that promise. Often, the only thing that has kept them going is that faith in my word.
I have gone through despair in this past year. Caused by liars, cheats, and criminals who haven’t been tried for their crimes against me, and perhaps never will be. I have had promises made me by the media, by lawyers.
Why do you make promises that you can’t keep? Is that money really worth your honor? You will screw people over to make money? Wow. You must be really incompetent to believe that you can live of off other people’s lives, their work, and not with a honest living you make.
You are the reason people don’t believe in humanity, in professionalism, in friendship.
You forget when you break a promise, you break a heart.