Raising Good Kids in a Messed Up World -Commitment

I believe one of the greatest character traits we can pass on to our children is the act of following through with commitment.  It seems like we live in a culture that easily jumps into things, but we don’t necessarily follow through.

The average sponsorship of a child with Compassion is three years.  This considers those that sponsor a child for their entire time in the program, to those that do it for a month.  I realize some people dive in with their heart, but don’t necessarily recognize the long -term impact it might have on their pocket book.  I get it, but often I feel sorry for the children who learn they have a sponsor, only to discover they really don’t. Luckily Compassion doesn’t kick a child out of the program if their sponsor drops them.

On a more grand scale, 50% of marriages end in divorce.  This is a sad statistic and it’s definitely reflective of a culture that doesn’t necessarily like long -term things.  Marriage is hard.  We are 21 years into it and we have had great seasons and we have had hard seasons.  I can’t tell you how grateful I am for my husband and his strong commitment to our marriage. He is a man of his word.

My girls are learning about commitment to activities.  Grace has been getting up all year at 5:30 am because she committed to playing in the jazz band at school. They practice at 6:30am Monday thru Thursday.  There were a few weeks (months) through the year she wrestled, lamented, agonized the early mornings, but she made it.  She wasn’t fond of the experience due to the new band instructor, but she managed to get through the year.

It’s easy to make promises.  “I promise to call. I promise to meet you for lunch.  I promise to do that favor for you.”  Then it’s easy to make excuses.  “I am so sorry, I got too busy to keep my promise.”

Building trust, building great character in children means to help them follow through.  My girls have gotten themselves into activities that later they regretted.  They have quit certain things because it just became too tough.  Sometimes I have regretted letting them quit because they had talent for those activities.  More than often the real reason they quit was due to a fear of failure, a fear of performance or mismanaged priorities.

In the world of abundant choices for kids, we as parents must help them be wise in what they commit to and what activities they choose to do.  But then, we need to coach them, and help them stick to it, even if they are having a bad season, or they don’t like the coach.  Sometimes it means sticking it out in a class they hate.  Sometimes it means being in an activity they are not enjoying.  But what a great lesson can be learned when they complete a season, or a class that they struggled through. Think about how this will one day help them when they have a job they are not necessarily fond of, or a situation they have to endure through.  Endurance!

Our kids will learn to keep their commitments by watching us too.  Empty promises, broken commitments, can only give them an excuse to be the same way.

I will admit, I have not been perfect.  Sometimes I take the easy route when the more difficult was the better choice.  With my kids, I have let them off the hook when indeed I should have held them to their word, or I have made a commitment to them I did not keep. Now that they are older, it’s even more important to coach them to stick to it.  In the end, this is the way they will learn to persevere.

Truly, I believe a person who is good for their word, a person who follows through, has great character.  What do you think?





2 Comments on “Raising Good Kids in a Messed Up World -Commitment

  1. I absolutely agree with you. I think it is such an important character trait to be someone who can be relied upon to do what they say. Growing my daughter into a woman of commitment is a goal of mine.

  2. When I first sponsored a child, I didn’t have a job. Compassion was encouraging people to do the automatic withdrawal payment, but Mom suggested I not do that just in case something would happen to where I couldn’t continue to support my Sandra. I had never considered that an option. I had made an 18-year commitment to her (give or take) that I was intending to follow through $1.25 each day. Job or no job. Financial stability or struggle. If it meant I was eating Ramen noodles so Sandra could eat, so be it. It breaks my heart to realize not everyone has made this same commitment. Honestly, I think that’s more cruel to the child than to leave him/her un-sponsored, hoping and waiting, rather than rejected.


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