Many historians believe that the first New Year resolutions occurred in ancient Babylon around 2000 BCE, or 4,000 years ago. The New Year celebration coincided with the planting of crops around mid-March, and celebrants often made pledges to repay debts owed to the gods. (C/Net, Amanda Capritto, Dec 1, 2020) This is obviously a bit different from our more secular practices of making what are often self-improvement commitments. Many of these resolutions are well-intentioned but tend to fail by mid-February or so. I’d like to offer an additional New Year practice that is guaranteed to pay dividends each year, and best of all, this practice comes without guilt or prospect of not attaining your goal. Simply add a few moments of gratefulness to your New Year celebration. Here is what I mean.
As the old adage goes when you are raising children, “Days are long, but years are short.” Before you know it, June will be here, and this academic year will be in the history books. I encourage all of us to use the advent of the New Year to pause and take stock of our children’s accomplishments to date and to be grateful for the many gifts they bring into our lives.
At Colorado Academy, we love our kids, but it is also a bit of a race to keep up with their school, music, art, and sports commitments. If you have an active child, you may feel that you spend more hours in the car ferrying them from here to there than you do chatting and relaxing together. You may also feel at times like you are moving from one child to your next, putting out this “fire” or that. This is part of being a parent; frankly, it’s par for the course, particularly during middle and high school. Too soon, our children are receiving their diplomas, heading off to college, and then into the “real” world. (I should know, as we just celebrated our son’s 24th birthday!)
All of this provides good reason to add the practice of gratefulness to the New Year routine. It is easy enough to do. Simply take two minutes to consider the wonderful qualities of your child: the joy they bring into your life, their sensitivity, their spectacular quirkiness, the way they think, feel, react, and laugh. Simply reflect on who and what they are right now. This practice of taking stock of how glorious our children are right now sets the table for the year to come.
Sure there are probably a few “resolutions” you may hope that your child makes for the New Year. Perhaps they could make their bed more often, do their chores a bit more consistently, or put a little more effort into their studies. These are all good things for them to set their minds to. The great thing about being a young person is that the sky is the limit for what they can do and who they can become. It won’t all happen at once, for sure, but a little bit of it will happen because you care, we care, and they care. Then twelve months from now, on January 1, 2023, you can once again pause to be grateful for the people your children have become. Done consistently, these moments of reflection will be snapshots and keepsakes of the year-over-year progress being made.
If I can be helpful in any way, please do not hesitate to contact me.