Thursday, March 17, 2011

I should be committed

And I think everyone should be committed, too.

No, not to the nuthouse, though there are days....

I mean committed. And it's funny, because I did the whole "look it up in the thesaurus to make my point with other pertinent synonyms", but none of them really seemed to say it better than, well, committed.

Here's what I mean. I think one of the qualities that our society lacks today is commitment - to anything. Some of it isn't our fault. My father worked for Caterpillar Tractor Company for 40 years. It was the only job he ever had - right out of college and the service. You don't see that anymore. Granted, times have changed, more companies get bought out/downsized/go bankrupt. But part of it I think stems from our own lack of commitment to a company - a job - a career.

I've seen plenty of resumes and it's a good thing that the old "one page resume" is no longer the norm, because some of these people are going on three or four pages. They just weren't happy in their position... they took the job thinking it would be one thing and it turned out to be something else... they didn't see eye to eye with their boss... whatever. Here's a novel idea: Whatever job you're in, that's the job you're in. Commit to it - work at it - and be the best employee at that job that you can be, whether it's a nuclear power plant operator or a newspaper delivery boy.

And what about the commitment of marriage? Statistics will show you that we treat marriage now more like an option than a commitment. I honestly heard someone who was getting married say, "Well, if it doesn't work out, I can always get a divorce."

I guarantee he's divorced today.

My parents have been married for more than 50 years, and it ain't just because they love each other. They are committed to each other. In sickness and health, in good times and bad, for better or for worse... you know the spiel. But today, as soon as things get on the "worse" side, we look for a way out. "This isn't what I planned." "Oh, I didn't sign up for this." "I'd be happier with so-n-so."

And don't think I'm up on my high horse. I failed at commitment. And I probably didn't have it from the get-go. I never thought I'd get divorced. It never occurred to me in the first 8 years of my marriage, even when things were hard. But then they got "too" hard. And we forgot our commitment. We opted out. I'm not saying we made the wrong choice, but our lack of commitment was the demise of our marriage.

Of course, the usual disclaimer. There are some cases where divorce - no matter how great the commitment - is the right thing to do. But again, look at the statistics. We're opting out with much greater frequency than the generations before us did, and look what they went through.

I could go on and on, but my posts are already too long. Commitment to school: you or your parents paid for school, you're there to get a four year degree. I don't care how undeveloped your brain is at age 18 or 19, put down the booze and hit the books, for God's sake. You should be thanking your lucky stars to be getting an education. You can commit to drinking for the rest of your life if you see fit.

And what about the obesity rate in America? Skyrocketing. Why can't we commit to healthy lifestyles - eating and exercise? Why can't big corporations commit to not coming up with all this processed crap for us to eat?

One thing most of us are committed to - our children. Ask most parents what the most important thing in life is - what they're most committed to - and you'll probably hear more often than not, "my kids". That's great, and as it should be. But don't forget - those kids are watching YOU. So lead by example. Show them the importance of commitment and how to implement that trait in their lives, even though the world around them is all wishy-washy.

Instead of synonyms for the word, I found a great quote. It has been attributed to Abraham Lincoln, which would make perfect sense, but I can't confirm:

"Commitment is what transforms a promise into reality. It is the words that speak boldly of your intentions. And the actions which speak louder than the words. It is making the time when there is none. Coming through time after time after time, year after year after year. Commitment is the stuff character is made of; the power to change the face of things. It is the daily triumph of integrity over skepticism."

Well said.

1 comment:

  1. When I was about to get married, a friend of my parents' said something to me that I have held on to till date. She said that the only thing I have to do to make my marriage work is to MAKE it work. Such a simple thing and such a deep meaning. Holds true for all relationships, be it to your family, jobs or books. I think we have too many options these day. Way too many. If one doesn't work out, there's more out there.

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