October 29, 2019 by phicks2012
For most of my lifetime I’ve had issues with commitment — not my commitment to other people and organizations and tasks, because I tend to go a bit overboard on that, but the failure of other people to adhere to their own commitments.
I’ve had friends make plans with me and then simply fail to show up, offering no warning and no real reason or apology. I’ve seen people volunteer to hold offices and then fail to conduct those offices, feeling put-upon if expected to do even the bare minimum. I’ve known people to promise to work on (or even take the lead on) projects and then totally fail to do so, and I’ve seen the same people expect praise for work they did not do and whine about not receiving it.
They tell me that I’m a “service type”, and it’s true that I have a strong sense of responsibility and of obligation. When I make a promise, undertake a task, or take an office it’s my genuine intention to follow through to the very best of my ability, and I feel horrible if that can’t be skillfully and totally managed. As a result, I find it frustrating and disheartening when others blithely blow off promises and duties and obligations, and seem to feel no compunction about it.
I tend quickly to lose respect for those people, and to cringe every time they step forward to volunteer for anything at all — because I do not believe they will follow through, and because I expect them to drop the ball and force others to take up the slack. Unfortunately, I’m usually right.
When we make promises and take on obligations, we need to take those promises and obligations seriously an not look upon them as though follow through were entirely optional and our commitments easily brushed aside. Hence, the verse below, which will also be printed in the May 2020 issue of our SCA Shire’s monthly newsletter “The Equinox”.
By the way, the SCA is an organization professing to value honor and integrity, so failures to honor one’s word there is something I consider to be even less laudable, even though it is a hobby. Just saying.
Full easily some words are spoken,
And oaths are made and fealty taken,
But promises are swiftly broken
If truth and honor are forsaken.
Thus, if our vows should cease to matter
And we allow our faith to falter,
Then are our words just so much clatter;
Oaths sacrificed on Hubris’ altar.
If we commit ourselves to duty
And fully serve with hearts enduring,
Then service is a thing of beauty
The future weal of all assuring.
But if we promise, and abandon
Duty, should it call for striving,
Then do we fail, and leave truth standing
All alone, conceit surviving.
Expect not that acclaim comes calling
On eager feet, glad to discover
Inconstancy, nor yet goes crawling
To woo a vain, inconstant lover.
So honor well words you have given.
And speak them with good faith, not lightly,
For failure by conceit is driven
And fame falls on broad shoulders rightly.
[26 October, A.S. LIV, 2019]