Ah the “C” word. Commitment. It can be a scary word. At least it seems like our culture today wants less and less to do with it. Commitment is hard. Really hard. We don’t like hard, we like easy. Let’s be real, humans can be some lazy creatures. Maybe I’m just speaking for myself on that one. Commitment means closing off other options, or not having an escape plan in place.
Over the years I have seen less and less people make and keep commitments. I honestly don’t know why it bothers me as much as it does. Maybe it is a personal pet peeve of mine. I have always felt a sense of responsibility once I make a commitment. Have I always got it right? Nope. I’m human so I fail, and I let people down. If I haven’t let you down you simply haven’t known me long enough. It is natural to fail, this isn’t what I’m talking about. It seems more and more people are willing to walk away from commitments when it gets tough. Anyone can keep a commitment when it is convenient, self serving, or doesn’t require much effort. The true test is when walking away is the easier path.
I really believe we need to reevaluate our views on commitment. Marriage is one obvious area this has been huge. I have a hard time with people making a covenant and saying “until death do us part” and then walking out when someone is hard to love. Reality Check: We are all hard to love. Truthfully some more so than others. I understand that there situations with abuse and unfaithfulness that betray beyond the point of reconciliation. However this is a small percent of those nullifying nuptials. I’m not down on people who have been divorced. However I think we should reevaluate marriage and take a hard look at making that commitment. Divorce shouldn’t be an option on the table once the deal has been sealed. My hope is the next generation will make amends in this area. The toll divorce has taken on family and children is immense. I don’t think anyone (in their right mind) walks down the aisle thinking that the marriage will end in a few years after things get difficult. Here is some real honesty. What will keep you from walking out in the next marriage once that relationship hits some tough times? It won’t be easy, it may take getting professional help and time to heal. Marriage can be incredibly hard work, as are most commitments.
It isn’t just marriage commitments that are being walked away from. Our society is quick to walk away from anything that makes us uncomfortable. Even worse is when an opportunity arises that has a greater benefit and we chose to break a commitment we already had made. I’m not talking about things like a better job and so on. Unless you made a commitment to be there for a certain amount of time. It seems as though keeping commitments is a rare and valued trait in our day and age. I mean we all think highly of people who keep commitments. We are inspired and respect those who stick out a difficult or challenging situation in order to keep their word. Why is it then we can validate every reason and excuse to walk away from our own?
I don’t mean to come across as cold or even a jerk but why make a commitment if we have no intention to keep it? Have you ever seen the movie “Hook”? Peter Pan has left Never Land and grown up, and has his own children now. Unfortunately he is so obsessed with his job that he has neglected his commitment as a father and husband. In one scene he tells his son that he promises to be at his next ball game. He tells his son that “his word is his bond”, his son responds “junk bond”. Ouch. It is easy to make the commitment but hard to follow through. Talk is cheap. I know it is a difficult truth but we need to have a honest dialog as a society about making and keeping commitments. It isn’t sexy and it requires hard work. Keeping commitments isn’t something we want to talk about because it is uncomfortable. We all have failed and have let others down. My hope is that we begin to evaluate our desire to not only make but begin to keep commitments.
What are your thoughts on keeping commitments? Why do you think it is so hard to keep the commitments we make? Have you or someone you observed kept a commitment though it was a difficult path? I would love to hear your thoughts and comments below.