You Have to Take my Word for It

Half my mind elsewhere, my eyes on the screen, and I utter: “ok, ok, we’ll do it tomorrow.” And there goes a promise I shouldn’t have made.

You really can’t go back on a word carelessly let out to hush your child. At that moment, days, months and years after, they will hold you liable for the words spoken in jest. Children still trust in the sacred word and that mommy never lies.

Now I wish I could say I have a genuine relationship with words. That I can give you my word and keep them. Because I am irked with people who screw up appointments or evade them. Have you agree to something then casually take it back, or worse, simply forget. Give their word and then just so easily break them. Without meaning to, they treat you and your time lightly. Break your faith. Diminish it, bit by bit.

But I am also guilty of going back on my word. Without the guts to say no, I will give half-hearted yes’s instead. And then delay the inevitable or belatedly back out. Or make promises to myself, declare I will begin writing that book and shelve it. Write words on a To-Do only to mark it as “X” again.

There’s always that temptation to utter words without thought. As though you can go back on your word later. Just like saying “yea” to the wicked witch who wants your future child, because currently your sick wife craves for Rapunzels. Even “roger that” to Rumpulstilkskin because there’s a roomful of straw to spin into gold.

imagesAnd yet there’s no escaping insignificant yeas and rogers you have made with your children. Or even seemingly trivial yes’s we make with life as it happens. My children will see how much value I give my word. Especially when I betray myself ignoring the commitments I make. Promises are broken the moment they are not fulfilled. You can’t simply carry them out another day. Because, the word you give, seemingly inconsequential or nonchalantly given, is a promise made. And we need to stop taking our words so lightly.

And so tomorrow, I’m going to honor the promise I made in jest. You’ll have to take my word for it.

“I have hated words and I have loved them, and I hope I have made them right.” -Markus Zusak, the Book Thief

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