The Ron Houston Performing Arts Center was filled with tears and laughter Oct. 2 as Alex Sheen, four-time Ted Talks speaker and founder of Because I said I would, kept the promise he made to the Northwest Bearcats.
According to Sheen, Because I said I would is a nonprofit organization and a social movement devoted to making everybody’s lives better through the promises they make and keep. Their goal is to change people’s views on life everyday through their character education programs, awareness campaigns and volunteer work in their local chapters.
With flyers posted around campus, many students were anticipating the strangely named lecture.
“One of my friends gave me a (promise) card a few years ago and it had ‘because I said I would’ in the corner,” senior Asha Hammons said. “I was just like this sounds familiar. Where have I seen this before? And lo and behold, I found his card and was like, ‘I’m going to this event.’”
Through blank promise cards that simply had ‘because I said I would’ on the bottom right hand side, students were able to commit to a promise as they wrote it down and posted it on social media.
“I made a promise to myself that I would always drive safe in the interest of others,” sophomore Mallory Krishna said. “As someone who’s been in three car accidents while I’ve been the driver, I’ve spent a lot of time avoiding driving until I had to. I need to be more confident, and if I can do that for my friends and family, then I can make the roads safer for myself and other drivers.”
While a card cannot tell a person what to do, the act of making the promise cannot be so easily broken.
The idea behind promise cards came after the passing of Sheen’s father who was a man of many promises made and kept.
Before getting on stage, Sheen said he thinks about the people he wants to impact and his father, to prepare for his performance.
“Sometimes there’s a thought that you try to give yourself to put yourself into the mood for what you’re about to do,” Sheen said.
With his mindset and a simple question to the audience, he started his speech.
From his first promise after his father’s death to the slow climb towards viral fame, Sheen shared his whole story.
“When it seems everything is against you, just try to focus on the small stuff and look at all those as victories,” Sheen said.
The trials and the financial burden placed upon him was heavy but for him it was not about money or fame. It was about sharing the empowerment of being able to make and keep a promise.
“You can pretend to care, but you can’t pretend to show up,” Sheen said.
Only when someone follows through with their promise can they truly say they care.
To learn more about what this movement and organization stands for, please visit either the official website becauseisaidiwould.com or follow their Instagram account @becauseisaidiwould.