I don’t care if it’s a pinky promise, or you crossed your heart, children only know you made a promise. Words have power.

Such was the underlying message in a powerful Goalcast True Stories video with motivational speakers Mohammed Qahtani and Ian Humphrey, which tells the story of a dad who gets a wake-up call after he breaks a promise to his son and dismisses his call to prioritize a business meeting.

What is your priority?

It’s something many of us experience in our own lives: parents or partners or friends who always are too busy with other things to make time for us, and often think so little of their commitment to us that they make promises they have no intention to keep – oh, we’ll absolutely do dinner next week! Or next month!

Except those plans never happen, and there are always excuses, and your feelings never matter.

This can have devastating results. We may find ourselves, like a story told in this video, trying so hard to make our friend or partner or dad proud that we gave up.  

Always take the time to listen, always keep your promises, and always make time for those it matters most to.

What we can learn from Ian Humphrey

Ian Humphrey is a motivational speaker who has tried throughout his life to empower others to see life’s struggles as opportunities rather than roadblocks. 

He has shared some powerful life lessons, often showing how people in his life — like his grandmother and a teacher — empowered him to live a different life than his parents. 

Ian has had an amazing life, but it has been a difficult one, that included stints through illness, injury, foster homes, and even prison. And throughout the course of his life, he’s learned some incredibly valuable lessons.

Start your day with gratitude

Humphrey shared that growing up, his grandmother would wake up precisely at 4:15, and would wake him up shortly after. This was to not delay, not procrastinate, but start the day and get what needed to get done done.

“My grandmother would say, ‘Now, son, you knew when you laid down there last night that you had to get up this morning. I don’t know why every single morning you lay there and act surprised. You oughts to be thankful that the Lord saw fit to wake you up.'”

Despite the tragic loss of his mother and father and the abuse he suffered in the foster system, Ian’s grandmother had a powerful lesson to teach him.

What my grandmother was encouraging me to do was simply to be grateful for the opportunity in spite of all that I had been through in my life. She just wanted to make sure that I understood the opportunity that I’d been given.

you are waking up and have an opportunity to start a new day. Never waste it.

It’s always good to be alive

As Ian said in his powerful speech: “I know that when you’ve had a rough life, when you feel unwanted, I know that when you have hopes and dreams and when you have things that you can look forward to and when you have people in place that support you and push you, I know that that gives you a reason to live.

As someone who survived physical and sexual abuse and abandonment, Ian learned to be grateful for every day this universe continues to give him.

Always show people respect, and they will show it back

Ian shared the story of an eductor he met in prison: “His name was Charles Lyles. He was six foot three, ex-Marine.”

“He’d smile and he’d say, “Hey, Mr. Humphrey, how are you doing?” He always called me Mr. Humphrey, he gave me that respect.” Ian recalled how Charles went out of his way to make him feel like a person even in the system.

“Prison doesn’t have to be your life. You can get out of here and you can do great things.”

The faith and encouragement Ian received from his teacher made him feel capable of learning and prepared him for believing in himself.

Sometimes those who have the roughest lives are left with the most important of lessons and experiences. It’s always so important to learn from our trials and tribulations, and teach others what those harrowing times have taught us.

We can all do better.