In today’s world, we live in an instant gratification society. We can order food to our doorstep, furniture and the latest movies with a few clicks. We can tap an app and a car will show up moments later to take us anywhere we want. Due to this easy-come-easy-go culture, commitments can be hard to maintain for everyone involved. Now more than ever, it is important to exemplify and teach our children the importance of keeping commitments. The simple act of making a promise or agreement and sticking with it can be difficult for kids- and many adults, too.
Whether it be small, day to day promises or big, life-altering decisions like joining a sports team or extracurricular activity, seeing the participation through to the end will teach your child perseverance, patience and principles. Keeping the commitments you make will also help shape you and your child’s reputation amongst friends and the community.
One important principle kids should understand is the value of time. Before making a small or large commitment, they should first think about the time necessary to fulfill their commitment and their attitude towards it. If they promise a friend to kick the soccer ball at the park and instead bail at the last moment, they need to have an understanding of the ramifications of their actions. For example, their friend may have hurt feelings and the cancellation may have caused logistic problems for the parents. Bowing out of agreements can impact many people, including other parents in your circle.
Another principle is the idea that we should finish what we start, even with all of the distractions that everyday life brings. This applies to homework, chores, social plans and team participation. “Don’t quit” is a tried and true mantra. Keeping commitments helps children with establishing routines and improving their self worth. Some commitments may be difficult in the beginning, but with time and practice, they are bound to get easier. For instance, when your child starts a new team sport and their skills need developing, it can get difficult for them to keep up with more experienced players and even for them to get play time by the coaches. In moments like this, walking away and giving up should be the last option. Kids need encouragement and support from parents when times get tough.
The principles of commitment are exemplified by the stories of successful athletes who had times of struggle and were tempted to quit. However, these athletes persevered and stuck with it, which eventually led to remarkable careers and life stories. When keeping commitments becomes a habit for your child, they will learn to carry that sense of dedication throughout the rest of their life experiences and interactions.