“Let your yes be yes, and your no be no.” Matthew 5:37
Have you ever let someone down? In other words, have you ever not done or followed through on what you said you were going to do? A few months ago, I had volunteered to take a meal to a family at church and guess what? In the busyness of the day, I completely forgot about it and I was so embarrassed that I had let that family down! They were depending on me to bring dinner and I didn’t follow through on my commitment. Fortunately, they were quick to forgive and later that week I was able to take them a meal. It was a good lesson on the importance of dependability.
To be dependable we need to first realize that someone else is placing their trust or confidence in us to carry out certain actions. We can begin with those who need us most…our children. They depend on us to provide for their every need. Why? Because they are not capable of filling those needs on their own…they are relying on us. What about those who are paying us to be dependable? Employers depend on their team to get the tasks assigned to them done in a timely (and correct) manner. And then there are those who depend on us because of friendships. Friends depend on one another to be there for them throughout all sorts of circumstances.
Now think about the last time you depended on someone and they let you down. What was your initial reaction? How did you feel when the person who said they were going to do something…didn’t? Disappointment? Anger? Sadness? Naturally, our reactions will be based on the person, our relationship with them and the circumstance.
There is something else that occurs when it comes to dependability and you have probably experienced this. When dependability is shown to be lacking, what do we usually do? We stop asking. The trust factor has been diminished and this can really impact relationships.
“And the strongest trust is built by the smallest actions, the keeping of the little promises. It is the constant truthfulness, the continued dependability, the remembrance of minor things, which most inspire confidence and faith.” Walter Wangerin Jr.
Call to Action
How can we teach our children to be dependable? How are we to instill in them that dependability is a characteristic to be pursued?
- INSPECT WHAT YOU EXPECT – One of the best ways to build dependability is to be intentional in the follow-up. If you have asked your child to do something, let’s say make the bed or pick up their toys, be sure to take the time to inspect what you were expecting. Has the task been completed?
- RECOGNIZE RESPONSIBILITY – As you become intentional in the follow-up by inspecting what you expect, also be intentional in praising or recognizing the responsibility shown in taking ownership of the task. Dietrich Bonhoeffer said “Action springs not from thought, but from a readiness of responsibility.” As your child gets older, those readiness moments for responsibility will grow.
- MODEL – How dependable are you as a parent, employee, or friend? Do those around you know that your yes is yes and your no is no? Have you noticed relationships changing as a result of a break in the trust bridge? The best way for your child to learn dependability is to see it being done. What commitments do you need to follow through with? What promises have you made that you’ve broken? Thankfully, God’s mercies are new every morning and as long as we are breathing, He has given us another opportunity to improve our dependability!
“Ability is important in our quest for success, but dependability is critical.” Zig Ziglar