I wish I had a quarter for every time one of my kids has said, “OK” or “Alright” after I have asked them to do something and then they didn’t end up doing it. I could take a really nice, well-deserved vacation! To me, when you say one of those things, that means, “I hear what you are asking me to do, and I will do it now (or soon).” They obviously have a different interpretation, probably something along the lines of, “I am just replying so you will stop talking to me and I can get back to what I was doing.” I’m sure sometimes they actually do intend, even if for a brief moment, to do what I am asking and then just forget, but more often than not, they have no intention of doing anything. I get that kids generally just want to have fun and that it is difficult to break away from something fun in order to do something that needs to get done. I certainly wish I had more time for fun stuff! So this is to be expected when they are kids. It’s frustrating at times, but I do talk to them about having self-initiative and about follow-through and hope that someday the switch will flip and they will turn into reliable individuals.
What bugs me even more is when adults have very little follow-through. We all forget to do things we say we’re going to do from time to time … or maybe a little more frequently than that. There are just too many things to think about in a day to remember everything, other things come up, and our memories only get worse as we get older. My kids pick on me about all the lists I have going at any given time to help keep track of everything. But there are those people who very seldom do what they say they are going to do. It could be because they have poor organization skills or that they are forgetful, but with some people you come to expect that they don’t mean what they say because the intent is not there or they lack the self-initiative. To me, that’s like one of my kids saying, “OK” or “Alright” or like making a promise you have no intention of keeping.
I really dislike having to remind people of things they said they were going to do, especially when it is impacting my ability to get something done or making me be perceived as a nag. I expect to have to ask the kids a couple of times to clean up their things so I can vacuum or sweep, for example, because they are engrossed in their own world and don’t think about how they are impacting other people by not doing what they are asked to do. I do expect that adults will understand this though and that their word actually means something. If it’s a matter of not remembering, then jot yourself a note or find some way to keep track of and prioritize all the things you said you would do. Don’t essentially make promises you can’t keep. I’d rather you just be honest and tell me you’ll probably forget so I may need to remind you. Then I won’t feel like a pest. Of course, if you could just do what you said you were going to do, that would be ideal.
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