What is a pledge?

“I will quit smoking!”

If you make a pledge to quit smoking, and then you smoke the next day, you have broken the pledge, but it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have made the pledge in the first place, nor does it mean that you should discontinue your effort to stop smoking.

A pledge is about trying to improve; to set a high standard and then make a commitment to achieve it, or abide by it.

A New Year’s Resolution is a pledge. We make them and break them each year, but we shouldn’t stop making them because we often, sometimes or always break them.

Marriage vows are also pledges:

I promise to be true to you in good times and in bad, in sickness and in health. I will love you and honor you all the days of my life. I take you, for my lawful (husband/wife), to have and to hold, from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, until death do us part.

According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, around 40,000 people break that pledge every year. Greg Norman broke it very quickly and is now ready to take it again!!

Ben May wrote:

What [Sue Brooks] wrote initially was right – how can you say you will never speed. Intentional or Unintentional – saying that you will do all these things is being idealistic.

For some people, it is also being idealistic to make a resolution to stop smoking, or a vow to love your partner until death. So in future, please don’t make these commitments; be realistic and don’t even try to become a better, safer, happier or healthier person.

As Ben points out:

Sign all the petitions, pledges, votes or whatever – but until drivers actually do something, and take personal accountability and responsibility on the road, little is going to change.

I suppose what I’m pointing out is that a pledge is about your intentions. No one can guarantee that they will never smoke again, never divorce their partner or never speed again. As I wrote in my last post, people make mistakes. But that shouldn’t stop them from trying to do the right thing and make a pledge, a resolution or a vow to change.

4 thoughts on “What is a pledge?

  1. “For some people, it is also being idealistic to make a resolution to stop smoking, or a vow to love your partner until death. So in future, please don’t make these commitments; be realistic and don’t even try to become a better, safer, happier or healthier person”

    Making a commitment does not mean you have to make a pledge to carry out that commitment. How about just good ol’ making an effort. I don’t need to make New Year’s Resolutions. I don’t need to make pledges. I don’t even need to make a commitment to myself. I just make an effort. Whether it’s losing weight, being a better driver or anything else, at the end of the day it’s all about the effort you put in, not what you have pledged or committed to do.

    Flaming someone for not signing a piece of paper is not producing any results for the cause. Is Sue Brooks the only person in Hervey who hasn’t / won’t sign it? Has every other council member signed the pledge? Has her refusal to sign the pledge had a detrimental effect on the safety of our roads?

    I think not.

  2. Good to see you’ve done your research, however……

    Cigarets don’t tend to accidentally fall into peoples mouths, commence burning and trigger the user to inhale. Nor does a mistress just appear kissing a married man – it takes the person to actually do it.

    So, a pledge is making a commitment to yourself to ensure YOU don’t light up another smoke.

    The reason car accidents are called accidents, is because they’re accidents. You can’t make a pledge against having accidents.

    Not including the idiots who deliberately break the law, you have people who have serious accidents, and have done nothing wrong, or not intended on it happening. IE, the result was not a direct consequence of their action. The phrase “Honest Mistake” is applicable too.

    There are too many variables when it comes to the road, that you can’t simple make a blanket statement over it all, and expect it to create impact

  3. Thanks for your comments Twisty and Ben.

    Twisty: I see your point and I agree; making an effort to improve is certainly enough. Signing or not signing a pledge isn’t in the slightest bit important, however, I do think the reasons Sue gave for not signing the pledge were important. To your point about outcomes: I do think that an elected representative making these arguments may help to ingrain the nonchalant attitude we have as a community to speeding, which yes, does contribute to the safety of travel on our roads.

    Ben: no research required. The pledge wasn’t to stop car accidents though, it was about driving safely as defined by the newspaper. The driver certainly does decide whether to speed or not and this was the point I was making. Sue’s post suggested that she thought speeding was acceptable in some circumstances and that is an opinion I categorically disagree with.

  4. Ben,

    You may call them accidents, but the Queensland Police Service and the Queensland Government call them incidents and there is a big difference. Vehicle incidents are caused by driver behaviour.

    You talk about research! Research is clear… speeding causes vehicle incidents and has been the cause of many deaths on our roads. And another thing about research! Speed limits are determined by extensive research and consultation with people who are trained to make such determinations based on road conditions.

    Sue’s comments were totally inappropriate for a number of reasons. Firstly, she is an elected official, who calls on us to abide by local council policies and procedures. By her example, we should feel justified in ignoring local laws if we hold a conviction that they serve no purpose. Secondly, she has taken on the responsibility of driving a council car, as such, there is a requirement that she abide by ALL traffic rules and regulations.

    Sue’s argument is as stupid as a smoker rejecting the premise that smoking leads to lung cancer on the basis that they are not dead yet!

    Twisty, I understand what you are saying! But, if the Chronicle asked me to sign a pledge to be a good parent and I decided not to sign it, there is nothing wrong with that. But if I made a public statement refusing to sign such a pledge because I like burning my sons fingers with a soldering iron, then that is not okay. What we say and what we do does matter.

Comments are closed.