Monday, October 09, 2006

Falling Short on Follow Through

For the past few days, my parents have been here lending their helping hands to get a few things done before the snow flies. It's been wonderful. Very little of my regular work has occured, but we have accomplished so much in a week.

The studio is here... a new riding arena and turn-out paddock are nearly finished... the porch roof has been sealed and strengthened... downed and dead trees are cut into firewood... Like I said -- much has happened.

One of my Christmas presents from my father last year was two weeks' worth of help around the house and the farm. (I call it "fatherly assistance." He calls it "indentured servitude.") Before the holiday, I'd remarked that all I wanted for Christmas was a couple weeks of his time helping out with a few projects. We all laughed, but he knew I was completely serious.

When my dad presented me with a little "coupon" for the work time, I was thrilled. I knew I could count on him to follow through with what he said he would do.

Unfortunately, not everyone is like my father. Lately, I've had reason to think about the importance of following through on promises. Several instances come to mind.

It's frustrating, because in each instance, a portion of my life or a segment of a larger project goes on hold while I wait for someone else to fulfill his or her end of an agreement. This, then, requires explanations, rationalization, justification, rescheduling, and other draining activities. Progress grinds to a halt. Stress levels rise. Deadline jitters commence.

I understand as well as anyone that life is not something that is easily blocked out and scheduled in advance. Extenuating circumstances lurk around every corner -- and I try to be flexible and open minded when they rear their ugly heads. But when they loom, and it becomes obvious that you are going to fall short on an earlier promise, I believe you owe it to yourself, your friends, and your colleagues, to follow through and let them know of the kink in the plans.

It's only fair. Other people have lives, too. And though my life may have been preoccupied with sawing wood and setting fence posts for a few days, that doesn't mean that I chose to put the afore-mentioned projects on hold. I'd have much rather been able to finish them and put them in the "done" pile.

Enough grumping for now. I hear the fence calling me...