Not long after I enrolled in my second attempt at college, my father sent me an email. It consisted of just a link to a news article about a local man - the usual inspiring thing. The man in question had visited a university as a teenager, and at the end of the visit, he took his name tag off and stuck it underneath the bleachers. He vowed to himself he'd return as a student and be successful, and years later, after his share of struggles, he came back to find that tag still there.
I sent a somewhat snotty response back to my father. I had flunked out of my first college and moved back home very, very reluctantly. I was full of hope about this second chance, but I also sensed that most people, my parents included, didn't have much faith in me any longer. I replied, "What are you implying, Dad? You know things are going to be different this time. I'm not going to mess it up like I did before. You'll see."
His response? One line:
"All I'm saying is, don't forget where you put your name tag. Love, Dad."
When I got married, I found myself repeating another of my father's one liners to my husband. Growing up with a chronic liar of a mother had made me somewhat bitter in the promises department, and gestures have always meant very little to me. After a routine fight, I informed my partner that words meant nothing to me, and actions meant everything.
I'm sorry. I won't ever do that again. I promise I will change. Things will be different. I don't do that kind of thing anymore.
Put your money where your mouth is, so the saying goes. Right? Actions speak louder than words. And don't forget where you put your name tag, people.