“What do you think? A man had two sons; he went to the first and said, ‘Son, go and work in the vineyard today.’ He answered, ‘I will not’; but later he changed his mind and went. The father went to the second and said the same; and he answered, ‘I go, sir’; but he did not go. Which of the two did the will of his father?” They said, “The first.” Jesus said to them, “Truly I tell you, the tax collectors and the prostitutes are going into the kingdom of God ahead of you. For John came to you in the way of righteousness and you did not believe him, but the tax collectors and the prostitutes believed him; and even after you saw it, you did not change your minds and believe him.
Our actions do speak louder than our words…how often have WE said “yes” with our voices, but then never followed through?
When I was younger, I would often make promises I could not keep, or agree to something I had no intention of doing, just to get out of a tight spot, or to get someone to leave me alone. I made empty promises to family and friends, and even to God, and I am sure I disappointed many of those I care about, and who relied upon me along the way.
Today however, I am much more likely to follow through on my promises, this is something I have learned since I became a single father and did not want to disappoint my daughter, or let down others who depended upon me to do what I said; actions do speak louder than words…and as a single parent, I found that I cared about keeping my word.
However this took time to learn, and there were many times when I had originally said “yes”, but had little intention to follow through (I was too busy, etc.) but later felt bad about this turned around and did what my daughter or others asked me to do.
That said, I am also learning balance, learned to say “no” when that really was the answer…and not to over-extend myself; but I am more careful about my response today.
These are lessons that our children will mostly have to learn on their own…some of our kids already know it, and are good about following through, and finding a balance, but others….well, they are not so good at it!
Sometimes our kids will tell us what they think we want to hear and then go off and do what they want to; many times I have heard promises to clean or to do something else equally un-fun, only to wind up doing it myself any way (note that this is not that unusual); but I do it…and I continue to follow through on my promises, as it is the right thing to do, and because our children do pay attention to how we act, often more than to what we say.
Like we may have done to others in the past, our children may also disappoint us…at first, but if we have given them a good example to follow, there is always hope that in time they too will learn how important it is to live up to their promises, and also learn to act in good faith.
Let us Pray
God, thank you for you’re the forgiveness you show us for times when we fail to live up to our promises. Please help us to keep our promises, but to also find a good balance and not to over-promise. Help us to live according to your Word, acting as an example to our children and others; an example of what it means to live in faith, and the importance of being reliable in our actions. Please help us to forgive our children when they disappoint us by not following through, and never give up our hope in them…as you have never given up on us.