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I PROMISE THEE: We can't bank on pledges until they are fulfilled
WITH so many politicians making and talking about promises nowadays, a number of us might just remember one -- or, specifically, the attestation we made on joining the army many decades ago.
I cannot recall the full statement of oath read and signed on the paper it was printed on, but I do know that we promised to submit ourselves fully to the demands of the military service and unconditionally swear complete allegiance to king and country. Many to this date still feel bound to that oath.
I did feel different during the attestation process, but could not remember being overly emotional making such a momentous declaration and commitment.
The promise had subsequently helped shape our character and abilities as soldiers, officers and gentlemen in order to successfully perform all of our responsibilities and duties. It enabled us to deliver to the best of our abilities the military service that the people and the country rightfully deserved.
But it also got us to become disdainful of those who did not stand by their pledges and promises, no matter what these were and with whom these were made. Fortunately, there were not too many of these types encountered while in the service, but certainly quite a number when going about my common daily life and more so now that I am fully back on civvy street.
So much so that I am beginning to believe that the saying "promises are made to be broken" might just be true. And that pledges and promises are only good up to the point when they are to be honoured and fulfilled.
Then one would have to face a thousand excuses why whatever was promised cannot come or, if one is stubbornly insistent on it, to get it only after some ugly discussions or confrontations.
It is sad to learn that pledges like "We will give this and that", "Trust us, we promise to do away with this and that" or "Don't worry, we will stand by and help if you get into trouble", are merely hollow expressions that have long been in the list of famous last words, never to be heard again once it is time for the delivery or when a desperate call for help is sounded.
Maybe it is a bit late, but I now know enough to be wary of anyone promising me anything, unless he has had some good record of keeping to his word of honour.
Those who haven't any will get my consideration only after they have made good on their promise, and even then if it is done with unfettered zeal and sincerity.
This might appear as being too harsh an attitude. Maybe, but before making the final judgement, just remember how bad one feels and how unbearable things become when someone reneges on his or her word.
It does not matter how big or small the promise might be, just its very denial is the most hurtful and demeaning, to say the least.
Most people have expectations on a promise. Many make their decisions and act, at times disregarding their own nagging apprehensions, bearing in mind the promise or promises made.
Some even put their very own life or their meagre savings on the line because of it, betting on what was promised as their fallback position should things go wrong. That is why many feel disgusted and betrayed when promises are not kept.
A promise brightens hope. Hope fades when it is not kept and together with it the trust and faith man can have for his fellow man.