A promise made should be a promise kept. – Steve Forbes
Sometimes when we make a promise, it seems like a good idea – until it comes time to keep it.
The first promise
My 13-year-old daughter Emily was introduced to the The Hunger Games Trilogy a few months ago. Seeing her friends excitedly read the books, Emily decided to join the Harry Potter-like frenzy.
After reading Suzanne Collins’ first book in the series, The Hunger Games, my daughter asked me to read it before the movie was released because she wanted us to see the movie together. I promised her I would.
The promise came at a time when I was trying to complete my first book. Between work, this blog, and finishing my book, there was little time left. But a promise is a promise.
Each evening Emily asked me where I was in the book, what I thought of it, and if I was excited to see the movie. I got the sense my enjoyment and acceptance of the book would validate her enthusiasm for it.
The time we spent talking about the book was a bittersweet reminder. My last-born child was no longer a child, but a young lady who wanted to share a similar interest with me. It felt like she wanted our worlds to be a little more connected.
I kept my promise and finished the book.
The second promise
By late February, movie tickets went on sale. Emily asked if we go to the midnight showing. I promised we would go and bought two tickets for 12:01 a.m. on Friday, March 23.
When I got home from work last Thursday I decided to skip my afternoon run for a nap. After eating a small dinner, I headed for the couch. The low pressure system that had parked itself on the Midwest was still producing rain. The sound of rain worked liked an anesthetic and sleep found me fast.
My eyes opened around 9 p.m. – 45 minutes before we had to leave. Groggy and wanting to stumble to bed, the idea of cancelling our plans was tempting. But a promise is a promise.
We arrived at the theater a little before 10 p.m. A local television news truck was there, along with thousands of other 13, 14 and 15-year-olds. The Hunger Games would be shown on all 20 screens at exactly one minute past midnight.
Walking across the parking lot to the theater’s entrance, Emily hooked her arm with mine and asked, “Dad, are you still excited to see the movie.”
I assured her I was.
We found just the right seats and settled in for the wait. My daughter lifted the arm rest between us and rested her head on my shoulder. At that moment there was no place else I wanted to be. After months of talking about the book and anticipating the movie, we were there, together, as promised.
She watched the movie with a relieved satisfaction. Seeing the heroine Katniss come to life from book to screen didn’t disappoint. When the closing credits rolled at 2:30 a.m., Emily joined in on the applause.
Once home, my daughter put her boots and jacket away as I turned off the lights. Before heading to bed, Emily grabbed me around the waist and thanked me for taking her to the movie. Her loving, sincere words made me realize I found a way to show my daughter how valuable she is; all because of a promise kept.
The lasting promise
Keeping my promise to Emily reminded me that what we provide is not as important as what we do. A promise kept is trust coming to life. A promise kept is more powerful than a good intention, a thought or any material comfort. A promise kept tells the other person they are valued, respected and loved.
The power of a promise kept is best revealed in the eyes of the person who receives it.
Emily – just like Katniss promised Prim she would win the Games and return home, I promise to show you that you are worthy beyond measure, by keeping my promises to you – always.