I seldom do much celebrating for New Year’s. When I was still in medical practice I thought of it mostly as that time when I had to remember to put the correct year on prescriptions and chart notes, and the period when more patient families were concerned with meeting deductibles or coping with new insurance policies.
But I do like the idea of a fresh start, so I typically make the usual list of New Year resolutions. You know “The List”:
- Lose weight
- Set up (and really follow) a budget
- Organize the whole house
- Spend more time with family
- Less time in front of a TV/tablet/laptop
- No more Grumpy-Wife, Grumpy-Mom, Grumpy-(fill in the blank here) Syndrome.
Except, of course, it was going to be FOR REAL this time!
In fact, my goals for this year aren’t really any different, except for the additional plans for working on this blog and paying more attention to my spiritual well-being.
But I am not using the word “resolutions” for these things anymore. I think that we, as a society, have lost the true meaning of resolute. Merriam-Webster.com defines it as “marked by firm determination…bold…steady”. Somewhere along the way we have decided that we must be less demanding of ourselves. (Not necessarily a bad idea in the right context. That is a large part of the overall message in this blog, after all!) But being realistic about our capacities as “simple” humans doesn’t mean we can or should lessen our determination and resolve to accomplish the things that are truly necessary, worthwhile and significant in our lives.
About ten years ago the concept of being “mindful” became popular. We could eat to our satisfaction and do whatever felt good to our bodies, as long as we were being mindful of the activity. A decade before that, we were reminded to stay “present.” Today’s word-of-the-moment is “intentional”. We all want to live intentionally, spend/save intentionally, eat intentionally and parent intentionally.
Please don’t be offended by my mocking tone! I’m poking fun at myself more than anyone else. Just because these terms are trendy does not mean they are somehow bad or trivial. To the contrary, I think the very reason they become so popular is because such a broad majority of us recognize our common shortcomings.
Perhaps in five or ten years or so we will get back to living determined lives. Then we can make resolutions again; when we go beyond showing up (being present), being aware (mindful), and having good intentions. When we know what is worth a truly resolute mindset.
This year, after we make all the plans, budgets, and schedules that we hope will work for us, let’s focus on our children with a different approach.
Let’s be determined – resolute, even – to parent each of our children in the way that best suits them. What makes them feel loved, safe, special, an important part of the family? Maybe five or ten minutes of reading a story, or getting a sleep-inducing back rub at bedtime – even when Mom or Dad is busy or tired. Perhaps a trip to a coffee shop for a hot chocolate or “Froo-froo-latta” with our teen; just to shoot the breeze and foster a sense of trust and friendship at the time in their life when you may have to insist on adhering to rules and keep your antennae up more than ever, as they navigate the world of school, relationships, and the internet.
However present, mindful and intentional we strive to be in our lives, let’s stay resolute when it comes to our children. Be determined to parent them in the way they need.
Perhaps we (they) will have a better year. Even if we mess up; and we will. After all,
WE’RE ONLY HUMAN.
What are you determined to do differently (or keep doing well) in 2016? Please comment below to share your ideas with the rest of us! Let’s inspire each other!