Tokenism, Lip Service, Empty Talk

A father promised his little son that he will buy the little boy a toy helicopter after work.

The little boy waited in anticipation all day.

When his dad came home from work, there was no toy helicopter.

The boy was heartbroken.

Unlike his father who probably had a thousand and one thing to occupy him at work, all that little boy had, in his simple mind, was a child’s wish that his desire will be fulfilled, that a toy helicopter would be in his hands that evening.

Unlike his dad, that was the one and only thought occupying his childish mind all day.

As adults, we still say things to pacify people, including to fellow adults:

I’ll visit you one day.

Don’t worry, I’ll take care of you.

I’ll help keep the house clean.

You are a maestro leading the field and I will always seek your advice and benefit from your experience.

Those who cook need not do the dishes, I’ll wash.

I promise to help take care of the dog.

I’ll fix your bicycle for you.

I’ll water your plants.

We will move to a nicer place.

You are always on my mind, how can I forget you?

I have your best interest at heart.

All my decisions are being made in consideration of you.


But we don’t often mean it, right?

We don’t mean what we say, and we don’t say what we mean, right?

We didn’t buy that toy helicopter in the hope that the little boy will forget.

We didn’t really have any intention of hopping onto a plane to fly across continents to visit a dear one.

We didn’t have any wish to care for a sick relative.

We didn’t really have time for housework.

You may be a maestro but I will rather stupidly use my finite intellect and go against your advice, and if I fail or look like a laughing stock, then so be it.

We thought since you were the one cooking, you might as well do the washing.

We have no desire to walk the dog.

We didn’t have any motivation to fix your bicycle.

We conveniently forgot to water your plants.

Moving to another place involves so much work and we were too occupied with the nitty-gritty of life to deal with that.

Sure, you are always on my mind but I make decisions based on my own needs and my own priorities. You are not on my priority list.

Sure, I think of you but it is my own life I am concerned with.

And since I am the master of my own destiny, I make decisions related to my own life.

Many of the things I said were said to make you feel good, hoping you will not hold me to my words.

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