Growing up in the same house as my grandparents, I learned a lot of old school manners: taking your hat off while indoors, always (and I mean always) holding the door open for a woman, saying please and thank you even for the little things, how to give a proper handshake, and making sure to take care of all the dirty work (i.e. – garbage duty) so a lady doesn’t have to get dirty.
While I appreciate all the old school manners I learned, there’s one that stands out as the most important:
Being a man (or woman) of your word.
It’s a quality that has become less and less important in our society.
Someone says they will show up, agrees to help out, promises to get something done, makes plans, tells you they will be there to help you move, or work on that homework, or will get done whatever they said they would get done, and the moment of truth comes…
And they don’t come through.
They over promised, under-planned, forgot to check their schedule or, worse yet, found something more appealing to do and just backed out.
We’ve all experienced it.
We all know how frustrating and hurtful it can be.
And, if we’re honest, at some point…we’ve all done it.
It may not seem like that big of a deal. We may not think it’s that important if we are five minutes late, or cancel plans to see a movie so we can hang out with some friends, but when that attitude becomes the norm, it communicates something about us.
Our words mean nothing.
We don’t care how it will affect others.
And, worst of all, we can’t be trusted.
The bible tells us how we should handle our words:
“Simply let your ‘Yes’ be ‘Yes,’ and your ‘No,’ ‘No’” — Matthew 5:37
When we tell someone we’ll show up at a certain time, when we promise to help out, when we say we’ll finish the project, talk to that person, or lend our expertise, we need to follow through. We need to do what we say.
Even if it’s inconvenient.
It’s not easy to be a man (or woman) of your word. It’s not easy to make sure you leave 10 minutes early so you can show up on time. It’s not always easy to put everything else aside so you can finish the project when you said you would. It’s not fun to follow through with helping someone move when you have the opportunity to get away for the weekend.
But when people can trust us with the little things, when they can trust us to show up on time, or reach the deadlines we set, or come through even when we have the opportunity to do something better, they know they can trust us with more important things.