ValueSpeak: To mow, or not to mow?

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  • Doklove Quincy, IL
    Aug. 26, 2014 10:08 a.m.

    I told my kids that we were going to do something once (go to one of those big indoor water parks) and circumstances changed and we didn't end up being able to go. I heard about that for many YEARS from my children because I didn't keep a commitment that I verbally made to them.

    The father in this story was wise to not tell about the trip prior to being sure he could follow through. The kid could have asked why he was being asked to do it two days early before committing, but once the commitment is made- even if it is small it should be kept if at all possible as your honor is riding on it.

    @Capsaicin- That thought process is exactly why we have a society that can not be trusted. "I'll back out if something better comes along" leads to not being able to trust someone. If something is too small that you may not be able to follow through then don't commit to it. Your word should be your bond- especially on little things.

  • Marshall MacTavish NORTH SALT LAKE, UT
    Aug. 26, 2014 9:09 a.m.


    We teach our children about commitments on unimportant things so that a stumble or two along the way won't have unbearable consequences. The father didn't lecture the son because the lawn was important. He lectured him because keeping commitments is important. It was a teaching moment, not a lawn-mowing moment.

  • Capsaicin Salt Lake City, UT
    Aug. 26, 2014 3:09 a.m.

    "You don’t understand that when a man says he will do something, he’s making a commitment"...heaven help me if i'm THAT kind of dad when I request my son mow the lawn. Really? It's the lawn. Not a million dollar or even twenty dollar contract. Contracts are only as important as the subject youre dealing with. The lawn...not so important.

  • Johnny Triumph American Fork, UT
    Aug. 25, 2014 10:10 a.m.

    @Pops got it right on. What good are we if we can't keep our commitments? The boy agreed to mow the lawn but then didn't. Who cares what the reasons were, he said he'd do it and then he didn't. Previous comments show that we've got a major problem in society, that people are willing to keep commitments as long as it benefits them. What a shame that we're doing such a disservice to our children by holding this mentality.

    Aug. 24, 2014 9:00 p.m.

    I don't agree with the latter train of thought in the comments. Of what value is a conditional commitment? It means nothing. Neither a family nor a free society can work without trust, and when commitments are honored only when it is convenient there can be no trust.

    Justifying the breaking of a commitment because one isn't aware of all the facts relevant to the commitment suggests that omniscience is the only condition under which they can be reliably made.

  • Anonymous100 Anywhere, UT
    Aug. 24, 2014 10:09 a.m.

    I agree with George and Southmtnman. Had the author known why he was asked to mow the lawn, he probably would have turned down the Lagoon ticket and honored his "commitment." He needed all of the information, not just "mow the lawn" two days earlier than normal. The author intended to mow it the next day which, in my view, with the facts at hand, would have been fine. He did not know he wasn't going to be there.

  • southmtnman Provo, UT
    Aug. 24, 2014 9:31 a.m.

    I agree, George. "I didn't want to get your hopes up" is a flimsy excuse for withholding important information.

    Authoritarians demand blind obedience, obedience without explanation or transparency. And such authoritarianism is ripe for corruption because it can hide behind its authority and does not allow questioning. It is not accountable to anyone but itself.

    The father was wrong. The kid did nothing wrong here. Giving your word and making commitments under incomplete information is not valid. The father should have known that.

  • george of the jungle goshen, UT
    Aug. 23, 2014 4:55 p.m.

    I understand the point about being a a stand up guy. If it was me I would of been depressed about not being told about the California knowing how hard it would be to cut the grass when we got back. It was my job to cut the grass, Why didn't he say any thing before. Trust works both ways.

  • george of the jungle goshen, UT
    Aug. 23, 2014 4:45 p.m.

    I truly hatted our old push mower, es-specially if the grass was long. The tall grass would bind up in the blades. The blisters on my hands before they grew calluses. Pulling it back than shoving it forward as fast as I could to spin the blades over and over all day. I was so glad when we got the gas mower.