Let’s Talk Opinion
“An unkept promise is as bad as a slap in the face. An honoured promise is better than an expensive bottle of perfume.”
In conversation with Mottos For Success: http://freebiblestudiesonline.wordpress.com/2012/10/22/mottos-for-success-283/
I ‘liked’ this post because it made me think about the importance of keeping promises and the impact that doing or not doing so has on our lives.
In fact, I think the quote itself is rather flimsy.
A broken promise is far worse than a slap in the face.
When you enter the institution of marriage, that is a promise you make. If you betray that promise and cheat on your partner, then a slap in the face doesn’t even begin to describe it.
When you borrow money from someone, promising to return it, and then fail to do so… Say that you end up bankrupting that person, losing them their house, their livelihood, or worse. Slap in the face?
When a child is abandoned – that too constitutes a promise broken, whether that promise was made implicitly or explicitly. No. Slap in the face is simply not an appropriate simile for situations where the promise broken is truly of some importance to the parties involved.
And to put the idea of honouring a promise in the same context as a bottle of perfume?
There must be something lost in translation here, because since when did perfume begin to mean quite so much to society that it becomes a point of comparison for the keeping of a promise?
The keeping of promises is the basis of law. It is what makes society function. Without a system that ensures promises are kept, there would be no notion of ownership, no concept of private property, and therefore no modern social arrangements.
The quote is quaint. It may have worked in a time long past. But unfortunately, beyond its value as a window into long-gone worldviews, I struggle to see its relevance for today.
“Is this what sadness is all about? Is it what comes over us when beautiful memories shatter in hindsight because the remembered happiness fed not just on actual circumstances but on a promise that was not kept?”
― Bernhard Schlink, The Reader
“In the first place, you shouldn’t believe in promises. The world is full of them: the promises of riches, of eternal salvation, of infinite love. Some people think they can promise anything, others accept whatever seems to guarantee better days ahead… Those who make promises they don’t keep end up powerless and frustrated, and exactly the fate awaits those who believe promises.”
― Paulo Coelho, The Devil and Miss Prym
“We’re always being made promises… You make them yourself and you listen to others giving theirs… Life is quite simply a matter of cruising along in your own little boat through a constantly changing but never-ending stream of promises. And how
many do we remember? We forget the ones we would like to remember, and we remember the ones we’d prefer to forget.”
― Henning Mankell, Italian Shoes
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