You can learn a great deal about humanity by studying the behavior of children and adolescents. Kids mimic and create storylines based on the lives they observe, both at home and in the entertainment they are exposed to.

Children play house. Kids create rescue stories. They defeat enemies and they fantasize about having extraordinary powers. As adults we watch movies instead. Most watch sports instead of playing them-- preferring the thrill of vicarious victory to the risk of personal injury and the demands of training.

What are kids up to when they play ‘Truth-dare-double dare-promise to repeat’? Adolescents want to hear and confess secret feelings and actions, especially if the attention towards them is based on being memorable or humorous. Negative attention becomes positive when bad behavior endears you to your friends. Doing a dare may show your bravery and obedience; or it may reveal the depths you will go to be accepted.

Most kids tell lies and practice some deception. Do you remember the importance of keeping a secret? Do you remember how important it was to be believed?

Cross my heart and hope to die… stick a needle in my eye.’ The childish oath meant that you were very serious about maintaining a secret or verifying to your truthfulness. The slogan actually comes from an old poem in the early 1900s. Crossing one’s heart signified genuflection (the sign of the Cross).

The first stanza of the poem says:

"Cross my heart and hope to die
Stick a needle in my eye
Wait a moment; I spoke a lie
I never really wanted to die.
But if I may and if I might
My heart is open for tonight
Though my lips are sealed and a promise is true
I won't break my word, my word to you."


Poem found at


Rorkus said…
Do you have a source for this poem other than that of I am skeptical as to the validity of information that does not have a reliable source. I am interested in the origin of this poem, which has led me to this particular blog via search engine, but have not found a reference other than that posted on, which does not give an author's name, publication date, etc, etc.
Kevin Rogers said…
I did the google search and that's the best I came up with. It sure is an interesting poem.
Chris Meadows said…
It doesn't really feel like a 19th century poem to me. It feels like something modern that someone wrote based on the cross-my-heart-and-hope-to-die childhood doggerel. And then, like a snake eating its tail, someone else thought that must be the source of it.
Anonymous said…
We jumped rope to it in the 1930's. Our parents and older relatives taught it to us.
KittenFuud said…
I've researched it too and still no more info on the poem. I keep seeing the comment about jumping rope to it in the 30s but no reference to "it" actually meaning the poem or the first part we all know! "Give it a shot" did it for me in the more-modern area but the commenter always says it was taught by "older relatives.." Hmm! Would be great to find someone who can expound on this!
Mark Larsen said…
Poem is by Kristen Burns-Darling