While shopping a few weeks ago, I made a silly promise to a silly girl.
Little Gracie was cruising by, sitting in the cart. She probably made a funny face, or said something goofy to me. I reached out to the nearest thing I could grab, and tossed it at her. The deep blue pack of Halls cough drops landed in her basket. Lindsay and I talked with her and her Mom. We all said the normal, Hello’s and See-You-Soon type things. Then Gracie threw the bag of mentho-lyptus back at me.
She said she didn’t want them. I told her that, the next time I saw her at our restaurant, they would be waiting for her. ‘You probably will, You crazy guy!’ She said. Before leaving the store, Lindsay asked if I wanted to put the cough drops back on the rack. I said ‘Nope, I told Gracie, I would have them for her, so now I’ve got to do it.’
So fast forward, from a few weeks ago, to last night. I walked up behind Gracie and her family at our table #15, I told her that I was sorry, I was all out of animal crackers, but I did have ‘these’ for her. It was the blue pack of cough drops. She rolled her eyes and her Mom laughed. It was a fun little moment, Gracie and I are buds 🙂
I told a kid, that I was going to do something. It was simple, it was easy. Most of all, it was silly. The thing is, that I had to complete that little promise I had made. Actually, I shouldn’t be throwing around promises, unless I am willing to keep them. I call it a promise, and even though I didn’t say that word specifically, I know that little kids listen and retain and I might as well, be saying ‘promise’ anytime I commit verbally. Especially, to this little girl 🙂
Throughout this week, I have been amazed at a few moments, when people have let me down on their promises. Just yesterday, I had my jaw on the floor of my car, reading a text, in which, a new team member at our restaurant, was backing out of the three day week, she had agreed to work with us, and I had four hours notice (this was after I had offered free gas money to get her started, since the first paycheck had not arrived yet) 🙁 Just like little Gracie, I am still choosing some level of belief that when a person makes and agreement with me, then they will follow through, as best they can.
Once I got over my initial GRRRRRRR, at being let down with such short notice, I proceeded to draft messages and try to the get the shifts covered. Luckily, another kiddo, stepped up, and came in to save the day… again. Overall, everything worked out, like it always does. Yet, once again, I was questioning the limits of my sanity as I attempt to staff our restaurant.
The bigger issue, with falling short of fulfilling our commitments, isn’t even the person we are letting down. If I had chosen not to buy those cough drops, and not to put them in my car, where I could go get them, next time I saw Gracie, it would have been no big deal. If it was even mentioned at all, I’m sure her Mom or Dad, would have said something like: ‘Aaron has other things to worry about, than bringing you a bag of cough drops!’ And it would have all been fine…
Even this new team member, who is leaving me to prep and cook by myself this morning, instead of coming out to make some money and bring her assistance, is probably better off, the employee of someone else, rather than us. Overall, this is just one of many instances, that I have dealt with before, and will again, I’m sure. The restaurant still finds a way to function, or at very least dys-function, while with the people who staff it, come and go.
The bigger problem, is within ourselves, when we don’t follow through on a commitment or a promise. The real issue, is the bruise and the dent left behind, in our own being, when our words and actions do not make solid repetitive connections. I am no freaking saint when it comes to follow-through. Believe me, I am not throwing stones in my glass house here. I do want to bring some attention though, to this simplest of ideas. When our words and our actions match up, we are building integrity. That is a big thing. It stays within us, it can be seen by others too. It is intangible, but soo powerful.
Other than honesty, and strong moral soundness, the definition of integrity includes ‘undivided’ and ‘the state of being whole’.
In order to be undivided, we cannot make too many commitments. We have to say no, we have to strongly, confidently and with compassion, be able to say no. This act itself is so merciful. When we say no, and keep our commitments within our means to accomplish, we are building our integrity, bit by tiny bit. I need to say no, more often. I need to practice this and play with it. I can edit and cultivate my commitments, caging them and supporting, so they don’t grow wild and out of hand.
Years ago, I learned from Dave Ramsey, that the number one trait of the successful people he admired, was Integrity. This human characteristic is free to us all. It doesn’t matter how much or how little we have, we can always keep our promises, or refuse to make them, if we can’t keep them.
I know there are places where I need to improve and polish up my own integrity. I know that one little bag of cough drops isn’t going to redeem all my failures. That one pack of Halls though, is practice. It is a tiny reminder that even a silly little promise kept, can put a big smile on the cute face of a little girl 😛 And the best part was, that Gracie told me, they were her favorite kind of cough drops 🙂
Until next week, be blessed 🙂