By Cameron Crane
|Image Credit: thriftyfun.com|
It’s hard to believe that the New Year is almost upon us. Each year seems to fly by quicker than the last, but there is no question that this past year for me has been an amazing one. On the last day of 2011, I made a resolution to focus more on the things that really matter and spend less time worrying about the little things. As a result, I have been able to grow in various facets of my life, dedicating myself fully to work, friends, and hobbies, and only occasionally feeling like I am spreading myself too thin. Tonight at midnight it’s a new year, and time to focus on a new resolution.
This year my resolution for the New Year is to dedicate just a little more time to my relationships. The holidays were difficult for my family this year. It was our first year spread out all over California, and we faced many challenges trying to reunite during the holidays, especially with the extreme weather conditions in the North this past week. We spent this Christmas inside, reflecting on the last year and looking forward to the next, unknowingly setting the groundwork for what would become our resolutions. We all realized how grateful we were to be together, and we made a pact to cherish our time more. This reflection process was the key for each of us to arrive at a resolution organically.
After the conversation with my family, I went downstairs and called a friend who had been trying to get in contact with me for a while. For one reason or another, we had lost touch, and I knew that reconnecting would be the first step in honoring my own goal. It was great to catch up, but I became acutely aware of just how much time we had let go by when she asked if I wanted to talk to her daughter, Ashleigh.
Somehow, Ashleigh had been frozen in my mind as the three-year-old I was introduced to five years back. At the time, she could barely talk, and the little that she did speak was in Spanish, her parents’ native language. Now, she was enthusiastically chatting about the holidays quicker than I could keep up, with only the occasional word in Spanish here and there. When I mentioned this to her, she laughed, “I have been trying to speak more English so it’s easier in school. I still speak Spanish with Mama and Dad, but I need to be better at English mostly.”
“Is that your New Year’s Resolution?” I asked her.
“What’s that?” she asked.
I explained that a resolution is a goal or vision you set for yourself for the New Year. I told her it could be anything she wanted, as long as she could promise to stick to it for the whole year.
“That’s it then—English,” she said proudly, and then paused, “And to be nicer to my little brother.”
Just like that, Ashleigh arrived at her resolution as organically as my family and I had. Not only that, it was simple and achievable. After hearing her swell up with pride and tell her mom about her new goal, I realized how empowering the process could be for children. I am proud to have been part of the conversation, and look forward to catching up with Ashleigh next year.
Have you set New Year’s Resolutions with your family? Do you plan to? What are your children’s resolutions for the New Year?
If you are looking for a resource for healthy New Year’s Resolutions for kids, here is a list published by the American Academy of Pediatrics.