The Birthday Promise

Written by Posted On Wednesday, 02 March 2022 00:00

After she fell asleep for her final evening as a 45-year old, I snuck out of the bedroom to get to work on setting up the kitchen table for her “surprise” in the morning.

I was up quite late, and woke up extra early to get things ready, kids up and dressed, cake and treats set out, balloons and lights ready, snow shoveled outside, so when she entered the kitchen all would be perfect as planned for her special birthday.

At 7 AM we turned on the tunes, cranked to 11, playing The Beatles “Birthday”  song (“They say it’s your birthday!  It’s my birthday, too yeah!”) as the kids and I danced around while Mommy was welcomed to the kitchen & thrilled to see the “surprise” – the table set all pretty for her birthday.


Tami was shocked at how great the table looked this time.

She is the one tasked to set it for every other event around our house, because I can’t do the table quite like she can, but this is my one shot per year to go for it.  I guess I impressed her with how well I did this tradition, as I don’t think I’ve succeeded quite as well in years past.

I feel the unicorn piñata added just as much as the light sign from the photo (of course, all things found around the house).

After the reveal of the table, a few little presents to open and handmade cards to be read, she was happy and ushered back to bed as I drove kids to school, and so went our day.

There is an unspoken Promise in our home that the table will be prepped, the song will be played, the presents will be wrapped, the notes will be written, and it will all be ready for when the person wakes up on their Birthday.

I have not booked performances and events due to this tradition.  I have turned so much money away for this simple thing we do as a family, as bookers ask me what I can’t do their event for and I say, “It’s my daughter’s birthday that morning, I have to be there…”, and the booker understands.

This tradition is not essential, not life or death, nor have we written it down in stone on a tablet by our 10 Commandments poster, saying, “Thou shalt always have a celebration upon waking on thy birthday, unicorn piñata suggested, presents and cake, table set and all, or thou shalt slowly whither into a shrivel of nothingness”, and yet, that’s just how we do things.

To us it’s a very important unspoken Promise as a Family: The Birthday Promise.

There are many unspoken, powerful promises that we make and keep whether we realize it or not:

The Promise to stand, welcome, and greet your spouse or child with love when they return to the house after being gone.

The Promise to go to church every week, just because it’s what your family does.  It’s Sunday, there’s not even a discussion as to whether you will go or not.

The Promise to set your alarm, get up for work, be prompt, show up for your employer and team.

The Promise to not scroll social media while driving, or check texts or emails.

There are plenty of promises spoken and unspoken, kept and sometimes broken, but most important is to show up when you know there is an expectation by those who rely on you to keep the Promise whether it’s been articulated or not.

Many Promises are implied, suggested, subconscious, intangible.

We just assume they’ll be kept to us, such as:

SAFETY – when getting on an airplane – we put our full trust into believing the airline is keeping every promise to let us put our lives in their hands.

HEALTH – we put our trust in a restaurant to handle our food with care, wash or cook it properly, and to make sure we are happy with the result of our meal.

FAMILY – we will stick up for one another, teach the best principles, do all we can to provide in an honorable way.

COUNTRY – we will fight for freedom, lock arms with our brothers and sisters, and pledge allegiance to the flag and beliefs.

If you’ve been watching the news lately, what I’ve just written should hit home and our hearts.  I don’t want to go too far down the political road so that is all I will say, but the question is:

What Promises are spoken and unspoken that you can make and keep this day which will make all the difference?  

Liken it to The Birthday Promise from The Hewlett Home – a simple table decorated and ready for the person to be celebrated!

What are your traditions and unspoken promises? 

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Jason Hewlett

Having delivered thousands of presentations over two decades, Jason Hewlett is the only speaker in the world teaching leadership skills, tools, and mindsets in such a powerfully unconventional way. With out-of-the-box performances of uncanny musical and comedy impressions of incredible stage legends, Jason’s keynote, The Promise: Become a Legendary Leader and Discover Your Signature Moves is a speech that feels like a show, entertainment that feels like enlightenment, music that feels like a difference-maker. Audiences leave with proven processes and immediately implementable takeaways to transform their business and leadership skills and invite a whole lot more joy into life.

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