You know many things that I did not know when I was your age. At the same time, you do not know some things that I knew as a seven year old. When we (my classmates and I) were seven years old, we used the word “promise” rather loosely. We did not understand the word and the concept it incorporates, but that did not prevent us from using it.
When we were seven years old, we were experts at using expressions such as “God promise” and “Mother promise.” The conversation would roughly proceed as follows:
X seven year old: I saw a big blue ghost in the bathroom yesterday.
Y seven year old: All lies
X seven year old: God promise! Even my father saw it.
Y seven year old: Hmm
X seven year old: Mother promise, I saw it. It was a big blue ghost and it had long hair and even my father saw it. He shouted so loudly that neighbour uncle came running.
Y seven year old (now convinced): What did it do then?
X seven year old: When neighbour uncle came running, it too went away. It is ghost no?
Here, the terms “God promise” and “Mother promise” simply meant “In the name of god (or my mother), I am telling the truth.” It did not mean “making a commitment to do something.” When I finally learned the correct meaning of “promise,” it was too late to erase all the wrong use I had made of the word.
You, on the contrary, haven’t used the word “promise” so far. I remember forcing you to promise me something a few years ago. I made you put your little hand in mine and say solemnly: “I promise to eat everything Mamma puts on my plate. I will never waste food anymore.” The ritual amused you a lot, and you started giggling after pulling your hand away. Needless to say, you never kept your promise, and I don’t think you ever will. You are one of the fussiest eaters on this planet.
In fact, I don’t want you to use the word “promise” till you know exactly what you are talking about. Promises, my dear, are meant to be kept, especially those little promises you make to yourself on a daily basis.
Look at me! I have promised myself so many things over the years and have conveniently forgotten all the promises I have made. It has led to disappointment and a sense of dissatisfaction. That’s why, I want you to learn to honour all the promises you make to yourself and to others. Until then, it is better not to use the word “promise” as it is too special a word to be used carelessly.