Broken Commitments

Picture a chain with each link connected to the next, one after another.  It is an unbreakable strength, each part welded shut to be unbreakable.  I think of this analogy when I see negative patterns of abuse, addiction, abandonment, and tragedy passed from one generation to the next, within a single family.  Whether it’s learned or genetic, it seems that some people are hardwired to make destructive decisions, which can include drugs or alcohol. I also think of this chain when I think of socio economic status, with individuals wanting to better themselves, but  not having the resources to get the services or opportunities that they need to accomplish that.  It seems as though these are unbreakable cycles which enable the   “have nots”  to keep creating “have nots”.  However, on the positive side of things, I don’t just see these patterns in “bad chains.” There are many instances where I have come across “good chains.” For example, a  family name, that when you hear it, you immediately associate it with each generation being an improved version of the last . This is common in sport, business, or politics where great grandparents can be connected to extremely successful great grand children that are making positive contributions to society.  In this article, I want to explore the possibility of breaking negative chains or “bad chains” and building positive chains or “good chains”. The key ingredient or material used in the manufacturing these “good chains” is the concept of “modeling”.

Nearly every sad, unfortunate, tragic, and unfortunate situation seems to fall under one heading or share a common thread.  This common occurrence I identify as “broken commitment”. In my experience, I have come to recognize and diagnose “broken commitments”, as being the common denominator in many of the terrible things that make up this world.  Sure, everything has circumstance, but at the root of hateful or destructive behaviors or actions are the seeds of “broken commitments”.  Broken commitments that  can introduce or teach hate and betrayal at a young age.   Broken commitments are like the blueish white part of the flame that melts and ultimately bonds the metal to create and unbreakable chain.  For an example, let’s take a look at the unfortunate things you may have recently heard about in the media.

I saw an article a few months ago where two teenage boys set a dog on fire.  In trying to find more information on the article, I came across several more instances where kids had tortured or killed animals for no good reason.  In most of these cases, those behaviors don’t just happen.  Somewhere, those young people experienced “broken commitments” on a serious level during some point in their lives when they needed commitment modeled the most.  Think of the hatred and betrayal that those kids were exposed to or subjected to within their environments, that could driven them to set a dog on fire.  While reading the article my first reaction was similar to the hundreds of people who had commented in very negative ways to the article. I too wanted to track those boys down and get revenge. Then I shifted my perspective and allowed myself to think “what did those kids experience when they were younger?”   As bad as I felt for the dog and how much I’d love to get my hands on those kids, I realized that those actions are a result of  someone having experienced pain, hate, and evil on a level that I could never comprehend.  When they needed it the most, there was a lack of or an absence of  empathy, tolerance, forgiveness, trust, compassion and  most of all commitment in the formative years of their lives.

Another example would be the sad stories of unfortunate young men and women who have experienced sexual abuse during their childhood. Think of the ongoing trust and intimacy issues they will face through a whole life time from those broken commitments.   Recently, I met a wonderful young lady who had experienced endless broken commitments in her life and still seemed to have the ability to move forward.  She has and continues to struggle with these issues, but she manages each day to put another foot forward.  This young lady gives me HOPE that she has a chance to break the chain with our help.

Character values like dedication, devotion, allegiance, loyalty, faithfulness, fidelity, responsibility, obligation, duty, liability, and trust are foreign concepts and rarely modeled. Boom!  Lets think about the word….. “modeled”.  I improved my teaching and coaching effectiveness by 20-30% this year just by “modeling” over the last few months. Simply by wearing pink shoes, pink superhero shirts and painting my nails, I was identified as a “model”.  I identified myself as a “model” in the form of a superhero, I took ownership of my civic duty to set the example for young people.  I painted my ring finger nail (aka commitment finger) white.  White is the color of purity and commitment.  My commitment to my family burns so intensely it is white. White like the light at the end of a torch that requires welders to use special goggles so as not to burn their eyes just by looking at it.   Yes as weird as it sounds it looks even more weird, I painted my ring finger nail white! It allowed me the opportunity to explain it to a huge variety of people and audiences, literally on hundreds of occasions.  What an amazing advertising opportunity for a cause.

To build unbreakable positive chains in the lives of young people, it is imperative to have adults “modeling” for them. I hope I have driven the importance of redefining and highlighting the concept of commitment in the daily lives of our young people.  In a large population of young people today, there is little or no positive  “modeling” in the environments in which they come from.  So, we need to model it at school! We need to shower these young people with commitment.   In many ways it already is being modeled, but it easily goes unnoticed.  The truth is that commitment is always the key to success or failure. If present, it is the reason for success . If lacking,  more often than not,  it’s the reason for failure. It is easy when we see people that are amazing at what they do to just chalk it up as being them.  When in actuality people are amazing because of the countless hours of commitment that person has put into the task or job at hand. Likewise, that person was exposed to an environment where commitment was modeled for them.  That quality needs to be recognized…to be “modeled”.  Kids who exist in commitment rich environments will identify success and failure by linking their success to the commitment or failure to the lack of commitment that they made.

Take the opportunity today to create commitment rich environments for young people.  Be a commitment “model”.  Put on your “to do” list: Buy white nail polish.

The possibilities are endless!  While you’re at it paint your thumb nail red for the “red thumb reminder” anti-texting and driving, Paint you pointer finger nail blue because that is your mouse clicker for cyberbullying awareness, paint your pinky finger gold to model the new “golden rule” which Sweethearts and Heroes defines as “Doing better to others than you’d have done to you”, side note that is also the little piggy that cried all the way home we need to be a more inclusive society by doing better. #modelup #paintnails2breakchains
Jason Spector Superhero  Educator

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  • Posted 9 years ago

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