The Value of a Promise

Written by BG Howard

February 15, 2024

During the process of a home remodel project, there was an unfortunate mishap which resulted with a couple hundred square feet of the flooring being damaged by (Mr. Eddie for reference) the contractor.  Of course, the guy immediately promised his company’s insurance would cover any and all cost for damages.  The repair, he confirmed, should only entail ordering more flooring materials from the same supplier to match that which had been damaged.  Once received, he stated, it would be a matter of simply taking a few days to install the new materials for the sake of correcting the issue.

Unfortunately, eight hundred and seventy-five square feet of the floors that had been installed a few years ago needed to be replaced.  More daunting was the fact “Mr. Eddie” learned material necessary had been discontinued by the supplier in 2015 and was no longer available. 

As such, the contractor realized he’d have to supply and replace all 1600 square feet of the flooring.  This, no doubt, served to throw a proverbial wrench into the pre-determined plan for completion of the entire project. 

It seemed that with each process something was always going wrong to further delay the scheduled date for proposed completion of the work.  In addition to the material concerns, there were issues with lighting, plumbing, electrical as well as structural matters.  Essentially, Mr. Eddie’s promise to have the contracted work finished within a month from the start date was altogether dismissed as life continued to happen.

There is an old adage that states, “Promises are comfort only to a fool” and it certainly proved true.  In consideration of the fact “Mr. Eddie” had promised to have the remodeling completed within a specific time-frame, arrangements were made for an important function.  As a result of circumstances unforeseen, all plans had to be restructured and other arrangements made to accommodate those inconvenienced.

As honorable as “Mr. Eddie” was perceived to be as a businessman and no matter how good a contractor he proved himself to be, the promise to perform the work in a timely fashion was actually never completely at his discretion.  Understanding that a man’s promise is only as good as his ability to keep it, there are many situations in which commitments are made when those providing assurance don’t have the ability to do so.  Due to circumstances often realized to be beyond anyone’s control, it isn’t always possible for “honorable” people to simply do what they promise to do.

While it’s true; a promise is only as good as the person who makes it, there are matters that sometimes serve to adversely affect an individual’s plans.  With that, it’s important to understand people only have true control over a very finite aspect of life’s occurrences.  So, to make a promise isn’t of much value in a case when it’s simply not possible for a person to keep it.  With so much emphasis placed on honesty, trustworthiness, and personal integrity in today’s society, the value of one’s word is even more paramount now than ever before. 

Granted, there was a time when a person’s word or a man’s “mark” (if he couldn’t write) served as the best “promissory note” one could expect.  A handshake was confirmation of commitment on everything from repayment of debts to the purchase of property.  In a more legalistic society, when a credit report usually accompanies an employment application, a “promise” is of even more significance. The validity of a person’s word is of critical importance as relative to the significance of a promise in that his “mark” stands for everything a man represents.  During a time when the world won’t “give” you any leeway, your word or promise is all that you have to stand upon.  I could be wrong but it’s just something to consider.

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