Of all the good parenting my parents did as I grew up, there was one simple yet brilliant thing my dad did that made significant impact on how I lived during a certain period of my life.
It was one Saturday morning the summer before I entered high school when my dad asked me to go for a ride with him as he ran some errands. This meant he had something to talk about.
The discussion was about the” life choices”, as he called them, I would face in high school. Choices about such things as drinking alcohol, taking drugs and having sex.
He wanted me to know that his and my mom’s expectation was that I would choose what was right; to live as they had raised me to live.
As we finished the discussion, he asked me if I understood what I was facing and what the right choices would be. I answered that I did.
He could have ended the conversation right there and it would have been a successful parent – teenage child discussion. But he took it one more step.
It was a simple, brilliant step.
He asked me to give him my word and make a commitment that I would choose and do the right things over the next few years. .
My response to his request? I gave him my word, and made a commitment to him and my mom.
So, as a result, the story of my high school life was that every time I faced a “life choice” my mind went back to that Saturday morning car ride and the commitment I made. And almost every time (well I wasn’t perfect), because of that moment of commitment to my mom & dad, I made the right choices.
Believe me there were many times I’d wished I hadn’t given him my word but because I did I felt compelled to live up to it.
This is the power of asking for both someone’s commitment and their word and why we should never shy away from doing so. It can be a life changing gift to others that they will never forget.