Monday, September 26, 2011

How's Your Word These Days?

Do our actions back up our words?  Yesterday in church, the sermon centered around another of my favorite parables, the son who said 'No' to his father's bidding, but later went and did it, and the other son who said 'Yes', but didn't do it.  Fr. Dave reminded us that our actions need to back up our words; that our word used to be valuable; otherwise others will see us as untrustworthy.

I'm a loyal person, and identify with the first son.  A lot of times (growing up), I wouldn't want to do things, and either had to be nagged to death or I'd do my chores 'when I wanted to'.  As I entered college and moved out on my own, I earned the respect of my boss at the country club, because I was willing to do 'the dirty work'.  In other words, I cleaned up the kitchen wait station every night.  And this was thanks to an older waitress who befriended me; she made the job go faster by singing, and naturally, I joined in.  And soon it was a nightly habit.

My friends know if I say I'll do something, I'll do my darnedest to get it done/be there for them/whatever.

This was tested in 1998, when we had moved to a new community.  Several moms weren't happy with a certain situation, so I, being the 'let's see what we can do to resolve this' person, offered my ideas, and everyone jumped on board with one of them.  So I set to work; gathered the necessary info, and set the plan in motion.  To my surprise, every single mom in that group balked at taking the next step.  After many phone calls, I gave up.  I wasn't about to start something w/o support, but I did send a letter to a teacher, voicing my concern.  She took the letter to the principal, who in turn took it to the superintendent, who implemented part of my idea, and the moms first grumbled about it, but then congratulated me.  WTH?  I couldn't fathom why they were upset for being excluded.  They would rather gripe about the issue than fix it?

And the issue arose again the next year, and another new mom in the community took the same action I had, with similar results.  If the moms had banded together in the first place, this wouldn't have taken two or more years (although by the 4th year, the original complaint had been resolved!), and we'd all been happy.  But the DUMB thing was, that group excluded me from then on, 'because we didn't fit in'.  One mom later told me my actions 'scared' them.  WTH?  Just because I'd rather ACT then bitch, whine, and moan about the problem?  Come ON!

I will admit, since getting married twenty-plus years ago, that my word has been broken in the financial area. When a payment is due, and since we're on a limited budget, I'm the one who deals with the phone calls or the payment arrangements.  My spouse has driven me crazy because I'd promise to pay X amount to ABC, but on payday, he would write checks for XYZ.  Or chew me out for making those arrangements or writing the checks myself.  So after a while, I stopped making promises.  I was tired of getting the phone calls 'You promised you'd pay us...'  and me saying, 'I know, but the spouse refused to cooperate.'

I'm the same with my online persona.  If I make a comittment to an interview/chat/guest blog, I put it on my  yahoo calendar; my family calendar; and my own personal one.  Yes, there have been an instance here or there where something's come up and I've been unable to attend, or totally forgotten about, but those are few and far between.

So what's YOUR word worth these days?  Mine's slipped to silver status, from a bill collector's POV, ha ha....


Liz said...

nice post. I too tend to get myself into trouble with my "let's do something about it" attitude. But don't plan on changing that anytime soon. thanks for sharing!

anny cook said...

In this day and age...bills sometimes don't get paid. In our house it got a lot better once I handed EVERYTHING over to the hunk...for some reason, there was suddenly more money when HE talked to the bill collectors... :-)

As for the other stuff...sometimes life interferes, whether we want it to or not.

Tabitha Shay said...

Great article, and as the one in the family who takes care of paying all the bills, it's sometimes very tiring and annoying when the money just doesn't stretch far enough. A friend of mine once told me that she puts all her bills in a hat each month and draws them out and pays as far as the money goes. She said when the bill collectors start calling her she tells them to stop or she won't put their name in the hat at all. I do my best to keep my word no matter what, but as life goes, there are unforeseen things that get in the way...

Amber Skyze said...

I try my best to stick to my word. I don't like to be the person who doesn't. I always feel guilty.
Thanks for sharing this post today. :)


Nina Pierce said...

It is scary to watch someone tell another person what "they want to hear" even if it's not the truth. That drives me insane! I've always told my children that it's easier to tell the truth no matter how much it may hurt, because then you just deal with it. It's just important that people take them at their word, so it has to mean something.

It's how I live my life. And I honestly believe if you don't try to change something then you have no right to complain about it. Those ladies would have driven me nuts. Like you, I would have at least tried.

And bills? Yeeeah, let's not go there. LOL!

Molly Daniels said...

@Liz: Thanks for stopping by! Glad I'm not the only one *g*

@Anny: I deal with customer service b/c he ends up losing his temper and cussing out whoever's on the other end!

@Tabs: There are some things we can put off till tax time, and others we can pay a bit each month. And it never fails; we get a cushion started and suddenly an emergency comes along which wipes it out...

@Amber: I'm the same way! I'm also a time-stresser: If I'm running late, the anxiety rises.

@Nina: Exactly! I'd MUCH rather work to find a solution than spend hours griping about it!

Marianne Stephens said...

The older - wiser, more seasoned - I get, the less I worry. I say what I feel, but would never intentionally hurt anyone's feelings. If I make a commitment, I try hard to keep it.
But, I'm at the point where I can now say "no" to some requests if family needs come first.

Kenzie Michaels said...

Sometimes I can say 'no' and not think anything of it; other times I feel slightly guilty and selfish. But my 'day job' is important too, right?