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Honor Your Commitments: The Words Of My Father

Let’s Go Back in Time

The year was 1963. I was a sophomore in high school, and a member of the junior varsity baseball team.

Make no mistake about it, I loved baseball. I was passionate about baseball. I was one of those kids who slept with his baseball glove. It was my dream to one day play college ball, followed by a lengthy career as a Major League baseball player.

The only thing standing in my way of a long, illustrious career in baseball was my junior varsity baseball coach, who didn’t think I was good enough to start a game in late April. I sat on the bench for seven long innings, seething, barely speaking to my teammates, as the game unfolded.

I went home that night and told my dad I was thinking of quitting the team. By God, if the coach didn’t want me on his team, I would just sit out the rest of the season and then try out for the varsity team the next year.

Dad was having none of that nonsense.

Play Ball!

Play Ball!

His Words

“Besides the fact that no son of mine will ever be a quitter, Bill, you need to consider this fact, and it’s an important one so listen up. Your word is your commitment, Bill. A man is only as good as his word. You told the coach, back at the start of this season, that you would play for him. That’s it. End of story! You made a commitment to play the entire year, and there is no backing out of a damned commitment. You may not like the commitment. You may not think it’s fair. But that’s just the reality of life. You make a commitment, you honor that commitment.”

I didn’t like that at all.

“But he’s not playing me, Dad. He doesn’t think I’m good enough. I can just tell from the way he acts around me. I’m not a star on the team, so I’m not worth his time.”

Dad was starting to lose his patience with me. I could always tell.

“He thought enough of you to put you on the team, didn’t he? They cut what, fifteen players from tryouts? That’s fifteen kids who wanted your spot on the team, but didn’t get it. You owe it to those damned fifteen kids to play out the season. Now strap on some balls and be the man you were raised to be.”

End of discussion!

My father

My father

Play out the Season

I definitely didn’t like it, but I did as my Dad wanted. I was back at practice the next day, and the next, and as the season progressed, a funny thing happened: I improved! By the middle of May, I was starting games. By the end of May, after a game I pitched, a win over Seattle Prep, the coach pulled me aside, congratulated me, and then said, “aren’t you glad you didn’t quit in April, Bill?”

“How did you know I was thinking about quitting, Coach?”

“I’ve been doing this a long time, Bill. I can just tell. And I also knew your dad is a man of honor, and he wouldn’t let you quit. Am I right? Did your dad talk to you about a man’s commitments?”

Still learning all these years later

Still learning all these years later

Lessons Last a Lifetime

I’ve never forgotten that season. There have been many times, during my lifetime, when I wanted to quit, when things just seemed too hard, or there didn’t seem to be any point in continuing, or life just didn’t seem fair. But a man follows through on his commitments, to others and to himself, period, end of story.

I spend a lot of time these days observing. I’m mainly a listener. I don’t give my opinion on something unless asked for it, and I sure as hell don’t give advice unless asked for it, something else my father taught me. One thing I’ve observed, as the years have flown by, is that commitment doesn’t seem to carry the same weight, in society, that it once did.

If you tell someone you are going to do something then do it, dammit! It’s a matter of honor, quite frankly, and it speaks volumes about you, as a person, if you choose not to follow through.

There’s Nothing Wrong With Some “old School” Thought

I was listening to a sports radio program the other day, and the hosts of the program were talking about a pro football player who is “holding out” and not playing because he thinks he deserves a larger contract. Mind you, the player in question signed a five-year contract in 2019 for ten-million dollars per year but now, two years into the contract, he is choosing not to honor that contract because he believes he is being underpaid.

Am I the only one who sees the insanity of that situation? The man signed a five-year contract. No one forced him to sign it. He did it of his own volition, and I’m quite certain he was pleased with the contract when he signed it. In fact, I remember the news conference announcing his new contract, and I remember him speaking into the microphone telling people how happy he was with that contract.

Two years later he believes he is being cheated, and he refuses to be true to his word.

And don’t you for an instance believe that kind of behavior is limited to professional sports players, because I’m here to tell you it is not. We live in strange times, my friends. Employers can’t find anyone to even apply for available jobs, and when they do hire someone, oftentimes that person leaves the job within months for a better paying job, not even having the decency to give two-weeks notice. And no, I am not pro-management. I am pro-decency! I am pro-honor!

I am a dinosaur!

Something Else My Dad Told Me

“Life owes you nothing, Bill! We all face challenges, and Life is neither fair nor unfair. It just is!” And those words were spoken by a man who worked his tail off, at a physically-demanding job, for twenty years, and never once complained. He was thankful he had a job. He was proud that he could support his family. Today he would be a Rock of Gibraltar in a sea of Jello.

He was my father and today, fifty-two years after his death, I still respect him and love him.

What’s the Point?

I think of those days often. I only had twenty years of tutelage under my father, but those twenty years were filled with lessons I still cherish today, lessons which have served as beacons, for me, during some of my most trying and dark times. I would feel cheated about only having twenty years with Dale LeRoy Holland, and I would be tempted to say it isn’t fair, but if he were alive today, he would have none of that. Life is neither fair nor unfair, and that’s just the real of it.

You put on your clothes each day, you tie your shoes, you brush your hair and teeth, and you show up for whatever life has in store for you. And if you make a commitment . . . if you give your word about something . . . you do it, period, end of story!

To do anything less is dishonorable!

2021 William D. Holland (aka billybuc)


Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on October 11, 2021:

I'm glad you think so, Devika! Thank you!

Devika Primić from Dubrovnik, Croatia on October 10, 2021:

Bill your experiences shared with us are enlightening and filled with lessons

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on October 07, 2021:

Thank you, Devika! It's good to have you back among us.

Devika Primić from Dubrovnik, Croatia on October 06, 2021:

Bill you share what you know and advise us well about your experiences. I enjoyed reading another one of your well written hubs.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on October 05, 2021:

I can relate to that very well, Jo! Same in our home. I differed with my parents on many issues, but in the end there was love in our home.

Jo Miller from Tennessee on October 04, 2021:

My parents have been gone for years now and I miss them most every day. If one can be homesick for people, that's what I feel. But I differed with them on many issues, and may have changed their minds about a few things, like they sometimes changed mine. I always knew though that we would think differently about some issues, so often went my own way without much discussion. I think, in the end, we respected that we might sometimes disagree. I never balked or had fights: I just sometimes 'did my own thing'. I think they still always loved me as I did them.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on October 04, 2021:

No regrets, Mary. You are a different person today than you were then. We are what we are at the time we are. If you can unravel that sentence, you will find some truth. :)

Mary Norton from Ontario, Canada on October 03, 2021:

I like your point on decency, Bill. It is easy to commit when people are decent, but commitment goes beyond someone's decency, as your Father reminded you. I'm not sure if this is still true today. I have run away from commitments, nicely though, because of fears, and I should have taken those as challenges. I indeed regretted having done that.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on September 29, 2021:

MizB, verbal abuse pretty much negates all need to be civil or follow the norm when quitting a job. Just get the hell out and figure out what to do next. I have no tolerance for bosses like the one you had. No tolerance at all.

Thank you for sharing your story. I'm afraid that kind of verbal abuse is till happening in the workplace.

Doris James MizBejabbers from Beautiful South on September 28, 2021:

You certainly had a good dad, Bill. I enjoy your life lessons when you read about him. I never thought that when one quits a job to move on to a better one. My last boss of 30 years had the attitude that he was proud of the employee who moved on to a better opportunity. But color me guilty in this one instance. I took a job as a copywriter for a direct mail agency at one time, but by the third day I was looking for a new job. It wasn't the work because I enjoyed that, it was the boss from Hell! The man was so verbally abusive to his employees, including me, that I knew I couldn't stay. However, it took me seven months before a new opportunity in the field opened up, and I took it. The boss said he was sad to see me leave. What the Hell! The media is a female cur dog but I loved working in it.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on September 27, 2021:

I have no answer for your last question, Lora. What is the point? I see things in the news, man's inhumanity towards man, and I can't fathom how people act the way they do. How can some treat others with so little disrespect?

It's always nice to hear from you. Thank you, Lora, and have a fabulous week ahead.

Lora Hollings on September 27, 2021:

What a tribute to your father who would have been so proud of you, Bill! It speaks volumes of the love and respect that you had for him. Yes, we all need to stand by our commitments no matter how difficult they may be. Our lives have to stand for the things that we believe in. If we don’t, then what is the point?

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on September 26, 2021:

Thank you for your kind words, Flourish. Much love to you as well.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on September 26, 2021:

I so agree, Vidya! It does add meaning to life, and I can't imagine living a life without standards. Thanks for your thoughts, my friend.

FlourishAnyway from USA on September 25, 2021:

Bill, this is filled with love and admiration for your dad as well as good life lessons. I know you cherish him as well as his guidance. Much love to you, buddy.

VIDYA D SAGAR on September 24, 2021:

Great life lessons from your dad, Bill. I especially liked this "Life is neither fair nor unfair, it just us". I am old school too and believe in honoring my commitments. We live by the values ingrained in us by our parents, and it really adds meaning to life.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on September 24, 2021:

It just is, Nithya! Deal with it! No whining! No excuses! Just deal with it. I love it!

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on September 24, 2021:

Great memories, Rosina. It sounds like you had a wonderful father, and I'm happy for you.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on September 24, 2021:

I love that, Linda. Great line from your dad. Endangered Species List...that had me laughing.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on September 24, 2021:

Oh, you would have liked him, Denise. He was right up your alley, for sure. Thank you, my friend. Have a fabulous weekend, and blessings always.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on September 24, 2021:

I sure hope so, Audrey! I sure hope so.

Love and thanks

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on September 24, 2021:

And thank you, John, for sharing your father's thoughts and beliefs. It's nice to know I'm not a dinosaur after all. There are a few of us out there.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on September 24, 2021:

Thank you, Misbah, for your very kind words. I just believe we should treat people with respect. It's what we want from others, so why wouldn't we do the same for them?

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on September 24, 2021:

I have no plans on changing, Brenda. Some things are just wrong, no matter how you try to spin it. Honor is not up for debate. You either have it or you don't, period, end of story.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on September 24, 2021:

We can always hope, Peggy, but I'm really afraid those high standards are a thing of the past. I hope I'm wrong.

Thanks, my friend, and Happy Friday to you.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on September 24, 2021:

Thank you for your kind comment, Li-Jen. It's always nice having you visit my site. Have a wonderful weekend.

Nithya Venkat from Dubai on September 24, 2021:

We make a commitment we should keep it. His advice to keep playing paid off and won a special congratulations from the coach. I love what your dad said-Life owes you nothing, Bill! We all face challenges, and Life is neither fair nor unfair. It just is!”

Rosina S Khan on September 23, 2021:

Bill, your Dad's wisdom is very appreciative. I like the way he advised you to honor your commitments. My Dad was very much the same. He was intellectual and always asked us to stick to whatever we started doing. That could be as simple as continuing our homework to excelling academically. Today I remember my Dad very much.

Linda Lum from Washington State, USA on September 23, 2021:

Bill, you're not a dinosaur (they're extinct), but you are definitely on the endangered species list.

Your dad and mine were cut from the same cloth. Dads don't talk to daughters the way your dad talked to you, but my dad instilled in me the same values. He told me to do everything as though you had to sign your name to it.

Denise McGill from Fresno CA on September 23, 2021:

Wonderful. We dinosaurs aren't extinct yet, but fading into the background. We still have a voice; it just isn't popular anymore. I say you should keep up sharing your real-life philosophy and maybe someone will come away wiser for it. I think I like your dad as much as mine!



Audrey Hunt from Pahrump NV on September 23, 2021:

I love your father's standards. My dad was right up there with him. How lucky for us! Your father would be proud of the fine man his son turned out to be.



John Hansen from Gondwana Land on September 23, 2021:

Much more wise words from your father, Bill. He reminds me so much of my own, a man of integrity who people around him respected. My father rarely had a bad word to say about anyone, but always taught me to stand up for what was right no matter what the odds. One of his favourite sayings was “the bigger they are, the harder they fall” and that was proved time and time again. Once again thank you for sharing the wisdom in examples from your life.

Misbah Sheikh from The World of Rebels. on September 23, 2021:

Mr. Bill, no doubt that your dad was a very wise man. And I feel the same wisdom in you. Thank you for sharing your knowledge and wisdom with us. I liked the very wise words of your father: "Life owes you nothing, We all face challenges, and Life is neither fair nor unfair. It just is!”

This is a very good way to look at life. Much respect for you, Sir.

Take care and keep smiling!!

Blessings to you and your family.

BRENDA ARLEDGE from Washington Court House on September 23, 2021:

Fantastic article Bill.

You aren't a Dinosaur. There are still a few of us out here that believe in sticking to our commitments.

I like your Dad. He was a man with backbone.

He didn't mix words with you. He told you the cold, hard facts and you became a better person by living within his guidance.

The football player who wants more money is unbelievable. But that seems to be what they do.

Why honor things these days when they let you out of your contract & you can get more.

Is it right? Absolutely Not.

I'm old school & I think I will stay that way.

Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on September 23, 2021:

My father was also a "Rock of Gibraltar in a sea of Jello." What a great phrase! My dad was one that honored a handshake. It was as good as a signed contract, in his opinion. His word was his bond. He was also one that honored time commitments. He made a point of never being late for anything. In today's world, honorable men like our dads are truly from the "Greatest Generation." Hopefully, as time passes, more people will realize the importance of honor and commitment such as our two dads exhibited in ways large and small.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on September 23, 2021:

Thank you, Umesh! I appreciate you taking the time to comment.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on September 23, 2021:

Pamela, I'm with you completely. I don't understand this modern world either. My son wanted to quit wrestling in high school. I wouldn't let him. Make a commitment, follow through on the commitment. End of story!

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on September 23, 2021:

Thank you, Liz. I'm glad you found it interesting and fascinating. Yay for me! :) I hope this finds you well, my friend.

Li-Jen Hew on September 23, 2021:

Your father was right, Bill! "Life is neither fair nor unfair. It just is" should be a motto for life. I like the conversations you and your father had and the follow up from your coach. You know how to add humour to your articles although the lessons are practical. You have a sharp memory and glad you shared your memories with us. I believe that your baseball spirit has not died as you keep your commitment to write! Thank you for your support!

Umesh Chandra Bhatt from Kharghar, Navi Mumbai, India on September 23, 2021:

Very nicely presented article with all those memories.

Pamela Oglesby from Sunny Florida on September 23, 2021:

I love this article, Bill, and I could not agree with you more. I was raised to respect a commitment too.

Your story reminds me of a situation I had with my oldest son. When he was young he decided to join a football team, and he hated it. He wanted to quit. He was active in other sports too. I would not let him quit. I told him he never had to join a football team again, but he needed to finish this season as he made a commitment. I taught all my boys this message, as it was taught to me.

I don't understand the lack of commitment we see today. I think the world is changing and not for the better, Great article, Bill!

Liz Westwood from UK on September 23, 2021:

Absolutely fascinating article. Your Dad spoke a lot of good sense. We too in the UK have football players who do similar things. Its quite shocking really. I especially appreciated your comment about giving advice. This article contains a lot of wisdom. Thanks for passing it on.

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