The hierarchy of commitments




You might have noticed that for the first time since May this year, I did not publish posts on two consecutive publishing days.

There was no post on Friday 7th or Tuesday 11th November, although because my post on the previous Tuesday was published shortly before the 4 pm Eastern setting for email distribution by my email autoresponder service, subscribers would have only received it on Friday.

What happened?

A commitment I could not break was moved forward by factors outside my control.

For the previous two years, I have helped a neighbouring family with the corn harvest by operating their crop drier for them.

The family has been very good to Sue and I since we moved to Canada. The family lost a son to cancer two years ago, another son moved away to pursue a different career. The remaining son and his father manage a large operation. They have people to drive tractors and farm equipment, they can easily find part-time truck drivers.

But few people apart from other grain farmers have the experience to operate the crop drier. Other farmers are all busy with their own crops right now. My experience as a farmer for many years makes it a simple operation for me to manage. It also earns me some money which is useful.

In the previous two years, the corn harvest started in the last ten days of November which meant that my commitment to run the drier started around the 20 th of the month.

This year the harvest started on the 10 th November, which meant spending Thursday and Friday the previous week getting the equipment ready. I had no time to create blog posts in advance.

There is a short window of time before the snow arrives. The threat of rain provides an incentive to keep going as long as possible each day the weather is kind to us.

That means it is long days. 13 hours non stop on my feet on Tuesday. Moving trucks in and out of the unloading bay, climbing ladders to check tank levels. Quite a stretch for an old guy who sits at a desk for most of the year. Thankfully, my horse riding, walking and wood cutting has kept me reasonably fit.

At first, missing those two posts was a big concern. I felt that I had failed in my commitment. Then I realised that the only reason for that was because of a higher level commitment to some one else.

As irritating as it is to miss some blog posts and fall behind with some of my other work, I have to accept it. I made a commitment to others and I must honour that, no matter the personal cost.

That is what commitment means, our commitment to others must be honoured. We must do what we have promised to do. Do our duty.

That’s why this week we remember those who lost their lives in the two World Wars and other conflicts. They honoured their commitments and paid a huge price.

There are another two weeks to go, which means blog posts will be sporadic until late December.

Do you honour your commitments? To yourself and others? Do you sometimes find conflict between the two?





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  9 comments for “The hierarchy of commitments

  1. Roberta
    November 15, 2014 at 8:18 am

    Like so many things in this modern world duty, work ethic, manners, competence are, sadly, all lost arts. Of course consistency is also on that list. Families seem so chaotic to me these days. Not at all like growing up in the 50’s. It was a slower time. I wonder if we will ever have any of these ‘glues’ that hold a civilization together again.

    • November 15, 2014 at 9:21 am

      Roberta I feel we have control over that GLUE. The power form Within is greater than any Social Dictums.

      • November 18, 2014 at 1:53 pm

        We do have the power Chuck, but it seems we dissipate a lot of it in negotiating a path through the chaos Roberta mentions.

    • November 18, 2014 at 1:51 pm

      It certanly is different, but I do believe that nothing stays the same for too long and that the pendulum will swing back. Not all the way to what we knew in our younger days, but to a more balanced world with more of the glues that hold societies together.

  2. November 15, 2014 at 9:25 am

    Thanks for the share Peter. We at the #MKMMA are repeated to self daily “I always keep my promises”

    Those simple snippets of information driven into the subconscious have amazing results.
    It has even improved my golf game ~~smile

  3. Michelle Borré Kosloff
    November 17, 2014 at 7:54 pm

    Hi Peter, Funny we were just discussing keeping commitments with our daughter. We were feeling like we were always last in importance on her commitment list. But she surely let us know that her first commitment was to school which we had always stressed was extremely important and that was why some commitments to us were being let down. It was a good point and her marks are showing that she is working hard. So maybe instead of the problem being that commitments aren’t kept, perhaps they are not always given the priority that we would like or we don’t see the bigger picture which may be causing a shift in priorities. I think we need to always remember that communication is always key.


    • November 17, 2014 at 8:03 pm

      Great observation about priorities, Michelle.

    • November 18, 2014 at 1:55 pm

      Good to hear from you Michelle. Sounds like you taught your daughter well. Even if her priorities don’t always line up exactly with your ideas of what they should be.

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