Being Promise Keepers for Our Children

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By Beth Pinyerd

Happy March with the hope of pretty weather, blue skies, winds, rainbows and the promise of outdoor fun and play for children and families! We can reflect on the fun of pretend play, sharing secrets with our best friend pals as well as making promises to do something for our friends.
This is usually done with a “pinky promise” among children to represent and symbolize an action of promise! Even children like to pinky promise their parents and grandparents and this is what these article tips are about!
We live in such a busy world. To be honest, sometimes as parents and grandparents, we jump to anything to love on our children! We have good intentions when we make a promise to a child, but sometimes other things happen such as sickness, emergencies or interruptions which cannot be prevented.
In the classroom, we early childhood teachers may promise our young students a special fun activity if they work as a team by picking up toys, following through with instructions, displaying good behavior, etc.
I’d like to insert an intergenerational truth at this point. This is a lesson we can learn from “The Greater Generation.”
When that generation makes a promise, it is their word and their bond to follow through. I say this because many years ago during my teacher’s training and internship in the early childhood classroom, I had an older teacher who mentored me and drove in the truth of when I made a promise to my younger students, to be sure to carry through with the promise when the students had earned this privilege. She taught me the value of being consistent in what we say and do with young lives. This teaches trust, commitment and respect which leads a child to feel secure and have faith in what we say and will do. A foundation of trust like this encourages confidence in a child to comprehend and understand what commitment means later on.
As a parent, we can be a model of keeping a promise. We must take the time to think through and plan before making a promise. Be careful in what you promise to your child.
“Can I really carry through with this promise for my child?” Taking the time to explain to your child that “we will see when the time comes or I just cannot commit or make that promise to you at this time” is better than promising your children something then not being able to follow through.
You will be pleasantly surprised that even the youngest of children will understand an explanation. This kind of parent-child relationship models integrity, and too, it lets your child know that they are celebrated and that they can trust you.
Breaking promises on a consistent basis teaches children not to trust us and causes them hurt and disappointment. If we break even the smallest promises, children will mistrust us for the big promises.
If we parents have to break a promise, take time, which spells love to your child, to explain why you could not keep your promise. This is a teaching lesson and apology for your child which again focuses on the relationship between parent and child. Ask your child to forgive you when you break a promise.
This models a life lesson for them to ask forgiveness of others when they may have hurt someone’s feelings. Children truly have this in their hearts! They are truly a gift from God.
If you see a rainbow in the spring, just remember God’s promise to you in this journey of parenting. Proverbs 3:5-6 says “trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him and He will direct your path.”

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