P asked me why during wedding ceremonies the bride and groom have to say 'I do'. "They obviouly want to get married, or they wouldn't be there!" I found this to be a very astute observation. I explained to him that the point was for them to make a PUBLIC committment, so that when things got tough for them as a couple - as they always do - they would be more likely to stick with the relationship. Psychologists have studied the impact of making public committments, but it is impressive that thousands of years ago societies had already figured it out.
I told the kids how when I was in graduate school and tempted to take a cushy high paying job I told all my classmates that I was going to start a company. Having done so made it much harder for me to do something else... On the flip side, one must be careful not to let public comittments influence us to stick with things we should not. For example, telling all our friends that we'll climb a mountain, then realizing that such a climb would be more dangerous than we thoght, yet doing it anyway because we publicly committed to doing it.