Commitment?

Commitment is hard to come by these days, at least according to some people. I’m not so sure I agree. I think people don’t commit to the same things they used to commit to, but they are still willing to commit – if conditions are right.

It used to be true that a job was who you were, a career would see you through to retirement, marriage was once in a lifetime, and family lasted forever. Pretenses were important, sometimes at any cost, and family status, name, and honor were the keys to stability. People committed to things that made them socially acceptable, honored the family, and guided them up the ladder of success. None of this is true anymore.

One thing has remained constant: the importance of relationships. Each generation has had its own kind of relationships. When I was a youngster, families and social organizations were where relationships were built. The military, service organizations, common social causes, political groups, civic and cultural activist groups, sports, and religion have all served as relationship-builders. But today’s youth are not prone to joining in. They stay connected through social media – at least they think they do. Actually, even they will admit that social connections often leave them more isolated than connected, yet they lack the skills to build real relationships.

And that’s where we come in. You and I know one-on-one, personal relationships are the key to just about everything. YES, they take a lot of time and a tremendous amount of work! But relationships are what hold us together as a human race, and if we don’t make the effort to establish relationships, who will? It has to start somewhere…

As I ponder just what shape my now-retired-from-teaching life will take, I see people all around me who need someone to care about them, someone they can trust, someone they can call a friend. I feel that I am being called to be in relationship with these people in ways that will help them to build resilient relationships that will withstand the tests of time. I want others to know the joy of being committed to people, regardless of the circumstances.

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