Lessons I Want My Children to Learn: Commitment

hand_shake

Today’s world makes it really easy to raise a total flake. Promises aren’t worth their weight in salt, and commitment means “I’ll do this until I find something I like better.” People just don’t follow through anymore.

I want to raise the kind of men who believe that their word means something.

The kind of guys from old movies– those who say what they mean and mean what they say and offer a handshake to seal the deal.

When they commit to an event, a group, a job, a person–I want my sons to understand just exactly what that means and how to follow through, if for no other reason than because they said they would.

2012 has been a tough year for some members of our family. Sadly, a couple of close family members are going through divorces, and it has become necessary for us to explain this to our children.

And as our boys grow and interact with more and more children their age who come from broken homes, or they ask questions like “Why is so-and-so not in our family anymore?”, it breaks my heart.

My husband and I have made it an important part of our family mission to have our children understand that while others may get divorced, divorce is painful and it is, in short, simply not an option for us.

We’re faaaaaaaar from being perfect parents, but this past year especially has shown us how important it is to teach our children about commitment, even to each other.

Thankfully I’m married to a man who vowed, even before we were married, that once we said “I do”, that was it– there’s no way out (except murder, he adds jokingly).

My husband comes from a broken home. His parents divorced when he was in college, just before he and I met. Because he was older and able to understand all of the circumstances and choices that led to his parents’ divorce, he was convicted to take his marriage vows seriously in this world where more than 50% of couples, even godly, Christian couples, divorce.

I am so lucky and blessed to be married to him. Even on our most difficult marriage days, I know that the end-game for both of us is to work through any issues instead of simply calling it quits. It’s a very comforting feeling to know that your spouse is in it for the long-haul, no matter what. (And we all know that in a marriage, sometimes that “what” can get a little cray-zay.)

My husband is also a wonderful example of commitment in doing what he says he’s going to do. Even to a fault.

There have been times when he’s sick or busy, but he’ll go out of his way to complete a task, meet with someone, or deliver something if he told someone he would. He’s very much a believer of “my word is my bond.”

Sometimes it drives me nuts because following through on his “word” can be very inconvenient for me, but I wouldn’t change him. I’ve had people tell me, “your husband is the kind of guy I can count on.”

Who wouldn’t be proud of being married to a guy like that?

He’s setting the example for our sons. He’s showing them how to say what you mean and mean what you say. And most of all, he’s a living, breathing example of commitment to his spouse and to his Lord.

We want our sons to be committed to Christ. We want them to understand the seriousness of a daily commitment of walking with the Lord. We want them to know that we realize how difficult it can be to follow through in this world of “do whatever feels good”, yet how rewarding and joyous it is when we hold fast to the Lord.

We want our sons to make commitments that are unwavering because it’s the right thing to do.

So when our kids ask to be put on a sports team, commit to being in a club, make a promise to someone or set a goal for themselves, we want to support them in their follow-through.

This is just one of the lessons we pray will create men of faith and character.

Share with me: Besides your marriage or your Christian walk, what was your biggest commitment of 2012? Did you meet your goal? Will you be committing to anything new in 2013?

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15 Comments

Filed under Marriage, Parenting

15 responses to “Lessons I Want My Children to Learn: Commitment

  1. Great thoughts here, Jenny! I think you should be teaching me mommy classes 🙂 Need to file this one away with all the other things I want to teach my sons. A very big file!

    • I don’t know if I’m qualified to teach any mommy classes, but experience is giving me some insight into what kind of men we should raise. Maybe we should write a book about being mothers of boys…just a thought. 😉

  2. These are amazing thoughts…and thoughts that I’ve definitely thought about. My parents’ marriage has had its difficult strokes. But they are committed to each other because they made it very clear when they married and had kids that the marriage wasn’t all about them–and that they would stick together. My dad’s parents AND my mom’s parents both divorced–my mom’s when she was about sixteen and my dad’s when he was like 10. They felt the pain and made it an absolute choice that they would NOT do that, even when the going was really rough. And that has definitely taught me something about committment and doing what you say you’ll do.

    This year I have really been trying to commit myself to my music (I play the violin and cello) and it has been really rough because I have been so busy. But that’s definitely what I’m pushing towards right now (and that will probably slide over into 2013.

    • Hannah, I think it’s so admirable that your parents have made that commitment. If nothing else, maybe the divorce rate has encouraged more couples to stick to it rather than end up like their parents.

      Good luck on the music. I think that’s awesome!!

  3. Mel

    Love your article. I too have an amazing man!

    Your statement “My husband is also a wonderful example of commitment in doing what he says he’s going to do. Even to a fault.

    There have been times when he’s sick or busy, but he’ll go out of his way to complete a task, meet with someone, or deliver something if he told someone he would. He’s very much a believer of “my word is my bond.”

    Sometimes it drives me nuts because following through on his “word” can be very inconvenient for me, but I wouldn’t change him. I’ve had people tell me, “your husband is the kind of guy I can count on.”

    This is SO David. He’ll say he’s going to do something and I’m like “eh, we can do it tomorrow right?” I’m a forever procrastinator, and while it’s inconvenient for me sometimes, I love that he is dependable for others and ALWAYS for me.

    I love that your man has grown up to be such an amazing husband and father, sometimes we struggle through our own parents trials, but it prepares us well for our lives as adults.

    I didn’t even touch on the “raising sons” part, but it’s spot on. Having a 19 year old is very tough, he’s still learning, and he is a great guy already, but I can’t wait for it all to click and for him to be an amazing man!

  4. Good post! It really helps to review our goals over the years too. Commitment is among my top goals as well. Glad you shared this, thanks!

  5. jeanniecampbell

    there is something so freeing about knowing you are in a relationships come hell or high water….and i mean that literally. my husband and i both know divorce is never an option, and i have so much security in that. i feel for coworkers who walk on eggshells…or worse, were too scared to get married in the first place and are now settled to just living together. very sad commentary on people’s appreciation and even their ability to commit. good luck talking to your kids about it….i’ve found that my daughter hasn’t really gotten to the point yet, of why aren’t so-and-so coming around anymore? my husband’s best friend went through a divorce, and thankfully my daughter wasn’t around his wife much to even know there was a change. but it’ll happen soon…to someone in our intimate family circle, i feel sure. *sigh* great post, though!

    • Amen, girl. It’s SO freeing. We’re lucky!! It is really difficult to have a close family member go through a divorce. We don’t want to tell the kids too much, but it’s necessary to tell them something. We’ve prayed about it and hopefully we’re saying the right things!

  6. 2012 brought a whole new level to my life…author.
    2013? We’ll see what God has up His sleeves…

  7. Marissa

    I haven’t made any huuuge decisions this past year, but 2013 will be big! I’ll be deciding what college to go to. I kind-of already have an idea, but I’ll “sign the papers” in a couple of months.

  8. Love this, Jenny!

    My parents are divorced. I remember being in seventh grade and my mom saying, “Katie, I love your father. I’m just not in love with your father.” What a sad message that is to a young person. Don’t get me wrong. I love my mom. She’s good people. I have a great relationship with both of my parents, but that kind of thinking just shows how mislead our culture is when it comes to love.

    Like you and your hubs, Jenny, Ryan and I know that divorce is never on the table. Not an option. I’m blessed to be married to a man who knows what commitment means.

    This year….well, we’ve committed to adoption. And although it hasn’t been easy and the road comes with no map, we’re sticking to it.

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