Remember the Promises (to You)

I don’t usually write about my husband in these posts. But I saw something last night that I thought was worth sharing.

My oldest had spent the day with Dad at the track racing their remote control trucks. After getting home, my son started tinkering with one of his out-of-commission models. He was having trouble with a screw to the engine.

When he approached my husband for help, he was questioned about removing the engine and was discouraged in doing it at all.

You see, my son likes to take things apart. He just doesn’t always put them back together. This drives my hubby nuts, because he is one of those people who refuses to start a project unless he intends to finish it…all at once. It’s also why my painting projects in the living room – for days at a time – get to him. 🙂

My son explained that he wanted to see the engine outside of the truck, to look at it in more detail. But my husband really didn’t want to work on anything anymore. He was worn out.

Despite my hesitation, I intervened.

I said to my husband, “As frustrated as you are right now, he’s just being like you. Rather than discouraging this, could you teach him instead?”

33 - promises

I’m pretty sure he didn’t like me just then.

It meant his back was going to hurt a little more from bending over.

It meant he was still tinkering with machines when all he wanted was to rest his hands.

It meant extending the early bedtime he so desired.

But it also meant he was fulfilling a promise to himself. One I knew was important to him.

My husband is very detailed, organized, and mechanical-minded. He just knows how things work. Except the laundry basket, but that’s a whole different thing. 🙂

This is something he had in common with his father. His father could fix anything just by looking at it with his detailed mind. As a young boy, my husband already had the same tendencies, but his father would usually work alone. Regardless, my husband was tenacious, so even if he wasn’t included, he would sit and watch.

He gained much from watching his father, but he also shared with me his desire to be different with his kids. To teach them, to include them, to sit side-by-side, to welcome their small hands working together on things.

Because he had mentioned this to me more than once, I knew how important it was to him. And I recognized the opportunity even when he didn’t. That’s why I pushed this particular night.

And despite his grumblings, I could tell he saw the value in it. Not because he openly thanked me for pointing out the opportunity. I mean, come on, he was not going to admit I was right – not even a little bit. But after 18 years, you pick up on subtle messages from the man you know so well. I knew what he was really saying when I rolled into bed that night and he immediately whispered, “I love you.” Now, I could be totally wrong. He could have just been saying good night. But I prefer to believe he was saying, “I appreciate what you did.”

     Fathers, do not exasperate your children,
so that they will not lose heart.
                                       Colossians 3:21

Are there things your child does that could be an invitation to keep a promise you made to yourself?

Maybe your daughter keeps doing flips into the pillows, and you remember doing the same as a child because your family had no means to get you to a gymnastics class. So you vowed to sign her up.

Maybe the plastic trucks redecorated with markers is a call for more creative outlets, similar to when you got in trouble for using crayons on your walls. And weekends at the art gallery fill your free time.

Are there parenting promises you made that you’ve forgotten? Like never raising your voice, having the patience of a saint, teaching your kids right and wrong by being the perfect role model. I know I have failed some of those promises. I think we all do.

It’s easy to forget the parent you envisioned yourself to be after years of sleep deprivation. After losing some hearing from the middle-of-the-night crying. After trying to reason with a 2-year old about pooping on the potty.

We will fall. We will forget. We will fail.

But we keep trying. We keep remembering.

After a long, noisy day at the track, my husband was no longer in a teaching mode. But a simple reminder helped him fulfill a promise to himself.

Let us remember to be encouraging. Let us remember our kids soak up everything they see, hear, and feel from us.

Let us remember the parents we dreamed of being.

Each time we remember, we get a little closer to reaching our dreams.

And helping our kids reach theirs.


  1. Vera Krause says:

    I’m just now catching up on my emails. A little late, but whatever!
    Loved your story about your husband and always about the kids. You are a teacher. Remember that you were trained as one. Keep up the good work — you are always thinking. And, keep writing. You are a very creative person, lady!


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