Students Remember Their Promises, Some Broken, Some Kept

This week, Young Writers Project publishes responses to the prompt, Promise: Write about a promise you made but couldn’t keep.

Young Writers Project is an independent nonprofit that engages students to write, helps them improve and connects them with audiences through the Newspaper Series (and and the Schools Project (

Next Prompt

Vacation. Recall a specific moment on a favorite vacation and describe it. Or imagine your perfect vacation. Alternate: General writing on any topic, in any genre. Due May 17.

Harming Secrets

I once had a friend

With whom I shared my deepest secrets,

And she with me,

But once she told me one that scared me.

She told me that she was weak,

That she didn’t want to do anything anymore,

She just wanted to give up.

She made me promise never to tell and I did,

But not for long.

Fear is a strong demon

That makes you do things both good and evil.

I told someone,

But only to help her.

When she learned,

She didn’t talk to me for months.

I thought she would never talk to me again,

But then I received a message written on a scrap of paper.

It read, “I got help.

I’m never going to give up.

You got me help because I was too weak to get it myself.

You saved me.

For that I will always be grateful.

See you tomorrow.”

The Promise Broken

The promises, so many, so broken

Things I can’t bear hear spoken

Every success, triumph, and victory

They all might as well have been trickery

I have won nothing in the end

These stinging truths I cannot bend

I have crushed my own dreams

Torn out all of the seams

Our love once twirled

I could have promised you the world

Yet I promised my heart

I was the one who failed his part

My love is the promise broken

So much pain left in words unspoken


I promise to do it soon

I promise I won’t forget to,

I tell myself I’ll come back

As I move on to something new.


It really is a horrible affliction,

One that often goes undiagnosed,

I can’t help my case of procrastination

It takes me over, I am just the host.


Homework is the worst,

Procrastination takes command,

But there were just so many things

That my attention did demand.


The time has flown

And the work remains undone,

I end up staying up late

Which is not fun.


I try to be good and honest

But procrastination has made me a liar,

I am forced to continue

Until a cure I can acquire.

Pinky Swear

“Don’t tell anyone. Do you promise?” This is what everyone always says. Do you promise? Can you really keep all promises? Me, well I don’t think you can always keep them. A promise is like a pinky swear. You can always break pinky swears. You can always discard a promise from your thoughts. You can always forget a promise.

It was a sunny afternoon in March.

“Yeah, yeah. I promise I won’t get angry again.” It was right before an upcoming AAU basketball game. I was nervous but excited to play against the other team. I had to keep my promises to my mom. I knew that if I got angry again, as in other games, I might make her angry or hurt her feelings in some way.

“Okay, good. I don’t want you to get angry if you lose,” my mom said. I had the tendency to get frustrated after my team got creamed. Today was the day that my team was going to win against our opponents. We were going to win. I could feel it in the crowd that they wanted us to win. That we wanted to win.

“Okay, girls, go and start to do your lay-ups.”

I wandered over to the nearest half court line near the benches. We were making most all of our lay-ups. We were ready to win. Fifteen minutes passed like 15 seconds. I had not had the time to see how the other team had been warming up. My coach put me in with my friends to start out the game. Minutes passed on the scoreboard. It was twelve to nothing. We were losing. The other team had face paint on their arms that was now smeared on our shoulders, forearms, and our jerseys. We couldn’t get past their full court press. We were practically doomed. We were having a hard time even getting it past the half court line. If we did, they would come out of nowhere and steal the ball. It was turnover after turnover that got us all down.

“BBBBZZZZTTT!” The buzzer of the 20-minute half finally went off. I wasn’t all that much angry; I was mostly frustrated at myself. I felt like I had failed.

My team talked during halftime, and we went over what we needed to improve on in the second half. Twenty more minutes. We had 20 minutes to win the game. We were behind by 21. It was 21-0. We hadn’t scored all first half.

We walked back onto the court. Our hearts racing, our palms sweaty. We were afraid. The second half went by like the speed of light. We did better than in the first half. Timeouts didn’t slow the game down. The running clock was killing us.

I heard the buzzers for the last time. We were behind by 30. We ended up being runners-up for the championship. Some of us were called up for awards. I walked over to the bleachers to grab my gym bag. I was trying to calm down. I couldn’t avoid the thoughts that were going through my head.

But I was angry. I had broken my promise.