Home Quranet Chapter 7 Does keeping promises enhance one’s self-esteem?
Does keeping promises enhance one’s self-esteem?
Chapter 7

بَلَى مَنْ أَوْفَى بِعَهْدِهِ وَاتَّقَى فَإِنَّ اللّهَ يُحِبُّ الْمُتَّقِينَ (سورۃ آل عمران, آيۃ 76)

Nay.- Those that keep their plighted faith and act aright,-verily Allah loves those who act aright. (Surah 3, Verse 76)

Adnan is in the sixth grade. This year his parents are particularly concerned about his grades because next year, in the seventh grade, the pupils are classified into various study level groups in the basic subjects. His parents keep reminding him about this but he says: "Don't worry, everything will be fine". After the first few months, his grades were low. His parents were furious but he reassured them: "I'm going to start studying harder and you will be pleasantly surprised at the end of the semester". But he did not seem to be working hard. His parents constantly reminded him but he kept insisting that they had no reason to worry.

At the end of the semester there was no improvement in Adnan's grades and in mathematics they had even deteriorated. His parents informed him that from now on - no friends, no computer games and no hobbies. Adnan pleaded and assured them that he had understood the message and would be serious about his studies. His parents told him they were giving him one last chance.

In the first week of the second semester, Adnan worked really hard and his parents were persuaded that he was taking the work seriously. But after about two weeks he reverted to his old habits. He prepared his homework late at night and only after he had finished playing with his friends. At the end of the year his grades were very disappointing in all subjects.

Adnan was afraid that he would be punished. He knew he would not be given another opportunity and began to defend himself and to find excuses. "I tried", he said, "but the exams were hard. I promise to work seriously next year. Please give me another chance". And then his father replied: "Those that keep their plighted faith and act aright,-verily Allah loves those who act aright". "We have given you enough chances", he said. "You promised and didn't keep your word so how can we give you another chance?"

Explanation: the ability to keep one's word is of inestimable importance not only for society, which expects the individual to keep his promises to others, but also to the individual himself. A person who makes a promise is addressing himself as well. If he doesn't keep his word, in future it will be difficult for him to trust himself and his own abilities. Adnan did not keep his word but feels that if he had wanted to, he could have done so. Keeping his promise would have endowed him with the sense of power and ability which is so important for us in so man areas, from solving a mathematical exercise to coping with life's problems. We want to teach Adnan not to be afraid of investing effort. Perhaps not all the responsibility lies with Adnan; perhaps his parents are partly responsible. His success is a joint family objective. Perhaps his parents can make life easier for him by helping him with his studies, helping him to define smaller and more manageable tasks than success in all his studies, because success invites success. For example, Adnan could start by focusing on one subject and succeeding in it. Thereby he could develop an awareness that he is capable of keeping promises. The role of parents is not to stand aside and award their children grades like teachers, but to help them to succeed. They should be warm and empathetic, encourage them along the way instead of merely waiting for results. Such an attitude would make it easier for Adnan to act in accordance with that important Quran verse.