Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Keeping Promises

As a child, life was simple. People made promises and in my heart I knew they should keep them.

Black and white right?

As a parent my views haven't really changed, but sometimes things aren't that simple.

Leading up to my son's birthday we talked about the things he wanted to do. Not just presents, but special activities we could all enjoy together. It was just as important to me that he had a great birthday party, as we had some family bonding. What did he ask for? He wanted to go camping.

Now, Oregon is not a great place for late Fall camping. Right now it is wet, muddy and rather gloomy. Instead of the traditional outdoor camping trip I came up with the idea to camp/sleep out in the living room. We could pitch his play tent, drag out the sleeping bags and fire up the flashlights. He was so excited about the plan.

Fast forward almost 2 weeks. I survived the LEGO cake, birthday parties and kids getting sick. I was pretty proud that I made it through. Maybe just barely, but I thought I made my son happy.

Tonight he came to my chair with his head hung low and asked if we were ever going to put the tent up. After a minute of confusion it hit me. I committed the ultimate parental foul. I broke my promise to my son.

Maybe that seems like a simple thing. I was really busy, I forgot, it was an accident, right?

Well, it meant a lot to my son.

I remember how much those promises meant when I was four.

As parents, we need to remember that promises mean the world to our children. A simple mistake still warrants an apology and explanation.

In order to make it up to my son, yes, tonight we are going to camp out in the living room. Nothing means more to me than the trust of my son. Tonight I am going to make it up to him. It should be the perfect night for our little "camp in".

So, have your broken your word with your children? How did you handle it?
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