Commitment (noun) | com-mit’-ment:  Now there’s a word that scares a lot of people.  Merriam-Webster’s online dictionary defines it as an agreement or pledge to do something in the future, something pledged, or the state or an instance of being obligated or emotionally impelled. Maybe it’s an age thing, but I sometimes fear that true commitment is becoming more and more rare, which is really sad because there are so many areas of life where true commitment is important.

A number of years ago I heard the story of a farmer who was asked to define commitment.  Using what he called the breakfast example, he explained that the cow was very cooperative when she provided the milk for breakfast, and that the chicken was equally cooperative in providing the eggs.  However, the pig was committed.

February is the month where we all – yes fellas, that means you – go out of our way to show our love and commitment to our spouse or significant other.  We should be as committed to our spouses as the pig was to breakfast, and definitely be “all in” in our relationships.  You ladies definitely deserve a lot more than a little candy or a few roses for putting up with us guys.  After nearly 47 years of being married to me, Shirley deserves a medal.   

Both Shirley’s parents and my parents were great examples of how married couples should treat each other.  I’ve often said that I grew up in “Leave it to Beaver” land.  Dad and Mom truly reminded me of Ward and June Cleaver.  You younger readers might want to Google that.  My folks taught me to prioritize my commitments and hold firm to them.  Commitment to God always came first with them and it does for me as well.  I believe a life without a commitment to God is a life lived without a true purpose.   

They also taught me a proper respect for others which I have tried to show every day through the way I treat people at our pharmacy.  If you have ever worked with the public, you’ll understand when I say that some folks make that a little more challenging than others.  

Not too long after I finished pharmacy school and started my career, I realized that what I have to sell, people don’t necessarily want to buy, but do so out of necessity. Many of them feel bad and are grumpy.  Given a choice, they would rather spend that money for something else. I decided if I could make them laugh, or at least smile, it might make them feel better.  That’s why you can usually expect a corny joke when you come to our pharmacy.  In fact, a friend of mine from church once brought me a cartoon that said, “They say laughter is the best medicine, so take your prescription to a funny looking pharmacist.” 

I have a signed and framed copy of The Oath of a Pharmacist hanging on the wall in our pharmacy from when I received my official license.  That version was revised by the American Pharmacists Association in July 2007, and like the Hippocratic Oath for physicians, it is sworn to by all pharmacists upon graduation.  It reads as follows:

“I promise to devote myself to a lifetime of service to others through the profession of pharmacy. In fulfilling this vow, I will consider the welfare of humanity and relief of suffering my primary concerns.  I will apply my knowledge, experience, and skills to the best of my ability to assure optimal outcomes for my patients.  I will respect and protect all personal and health information entrusted to me.  I will accept the lifelong obligation to improve my professional knowledge and competence.  I will hold myself and my colleagues to the highest principles of our profession’s moral, ethical and legal conduct.  I will embrace and advocate changes that improve patient care.  I will utilize my knowledge, skills, experiences, and values to prepare the next generation of pharmacists.  I take these vows voluntarily with the full realization of the responsibility with which I am entrusted by the public.”

This has been my commitment to my patients, my staff, and my colleagues for nearly 45 years.  With God’s help I hope to continue fulfilling this Oath of a Pharmacist for many years to come.