By Joey and Carla Link
April 21, 2021
A young mom was struggling with her parents. They had promised her they would help her pay off a financial debt she had incurred while going to school. But when it came time to make good on their promise, they didn’t step forward. They later told her they totally forgot about it, but it was too late and her credit was ruined as a result.
I (Joey) remember when my Dad said he would take me fishing on Saturday. I had just gotten a fishing pole for my birthday. I was so excited about this gift. It had a heavy rubber sinker on the end to practice casting in my backyard. Friday came and Dad helped me get weights and hooks on my pole.
He told me to get to bed early because we had to get up early to catch the fish. The next morning, my Dad woke me up and we went fishing. While I never caught any fish that morning, it was the memory of the day that I still remember, and the promise my Dad made to me that he kept. I knew I could trust my Dad after that.I don’t know why that event was the one I remember to this day that showed me my dad was willing to keep his promises, but most children have one, either positive like mine or negative like the girl whose parents never followed through on their promise to help her pay off that loan.
When you make a promise to your kids, if it doesn’t come to pass, as parents we tend to shrug it off. But our kids don’t. They count on whatever was promised and they remember it and dream about it. When it never comes to pass, you have slipped off your parent pedestal and are tumbling down the hill.
The point is, can your kids trust that you will keep your word? God says it this way in Numbers 30:2:
“A man who makes a vow to the LORD or makes a pledge under oath must never break it. He must do exactly what he said he would do.”
Making a pledge to the Lord is the ultimate promise and we need to keep it. In your child’s mind it should be the same with them. Kids see promises you make to them as vows that should not be broken. Kids do not trust parents who do not keep their word.
Say What You Mean and Mean What You SayThis has long been a favorite phrase of Joey’s. How can you be characterized by saying what you mean and meaning what you say? 1. Don’t use the words “I promise”. Don’t give the impression you are going to do something you have no idea whether you will ever get around to, like going to Disney World. 2. Do use positive words. Instead of saying “I don’t care if your best friend went to Disney on vacation with her family, we can’t afford to go and that’s final!” Try this instead: “Wow, I have always wanted to go to Disney too, but it is something we don’t have extra money to do right now.” 3. Don’t tell your kids to do something you have no intention of following up on. If you tell your kids to pick up their toys and an hour later see they are still on the floor, if you intend to mean what you say, you need to do something about it. 4. Do notice the good. If you are going to criticize your kids when they do something wrong, encourage them when they do something right. Encouraging words go a long way to build up a child and they will stay buried in a happy place in his/her heart for a long, long time. “Therefore encourage one another and build one another up.”I Thessalonians 5:11