Suppose that after church today, you go somewhere and meet a cute guy or girl. You start talking—and okay, maybe you’re flirting a little. Not only is this person cute, he or she seems sweet and funny, too! You quickly develop a major crush.
A few minutes later, however, your mom tells you it’s time to go home. You summon all your courage and ask, “Um, could we maybe . . . I dunno, share phone numbers—so we can text later?”
Your crush quickly agrees. “If you text me, I promise to text you back,” he or she says.
You can’t believe how amazing this is. As soon as you get home, you text your cutie.
Strangely, he or she doesn’t answer.
You figure, “Well, it’s Sunday. Maybe he or she has family stuff going on.” So, you text again on Monday. No response. You try on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. Nothing. You’re getting discouraged but refuse to give up. This person is really cute!
You text once more on Friday, and this time, you get a reply—sort of. Your crush sends back two words: “Can’t talk.”
Less than a week ago, this person gave you his or her phone number and promised to text you back. But you’ve texted six times now and got back a grand total of two words in response.
- If this happened in real life, what would you think about your crush who hasn’t bothered texting back? (Students would likely be frustrated that their crush didn’t keep his or her promise. They might realize this person probably doesn’t like them back.)
- On the other hand, what would you think about your crush if he or she kept the promise and immediately texted back on Sunday? (Students would likely be excited that their crush kept his or her word. They would probably conclude that this person does like them back.)
Promises are a big deal. When we break them, bad things happen to our relationships. People feel like they can’t trust us anymore. On the other hand, when we keep promises, good things happen! In fact, keeping a promise might even save a life.
Many people are taking “buckle up” pledges to always wear their seatbelts. The Kailee Mills Foundation, a big advocate of seatbelt use, was created in honor of Kailee Mills who was killed in a car accident without a seatbelt. The foundation offers an online pledge that people can sign digitally:
Read the pledge (or display it on a shared screen) for students:
Buckle Up Pledge
In signing this pledge, people are promising to always wear their seatbelts.
- What is the result of keeping the promise from this pledge? (Staying safe in the car, being more protected in accidents, etc.)
- What are some common promises that middle schoolers make to other people? (Make sure your students understand that by a “promise,” you mean any time one person makes a commitment to someone else. It doesn’t necessarily involve using the word “promise.”)
- Let’s take a closer look at one of the promises that we just discussed. What will happen if that promise is kept? What if it’s broken? (Help students identify potential positive and negative consequences of several of the promises that the class brainstormed in the previous question.)
Besides safety issues like wearing your seatbelt, there are few promises that are a matter of life and death. But keeping promises will always strengthen your relationships by building trust. Breaking promises will always damage your relationships by destroying trust.
The Bible shows us a vivid example of what happens when promises get broken. Let’s read a story about two men named Jacob and Laban.