Resolutions involving kids usually have to do with one’s desire to in some way be a “better” parent. They often are something like the following: I will read aloud more to my kids, I will be a better listener, I will be more patient with my kids, or I will do a better job of monitoring screen time. I propose a different kindof resolution for 2018.
How about a family resolution? Together, make a plan that is S.M.A.R.T. (see goal setting chart). School age children (5+) through teens probably will be willing to participate in such an experience. Start the exercise with some brain storming where all ideas are recorded and none are evaluated. After collecting all the ideas begin to evaluate and eliminate. Try to shrink the list down to two or three that everyone agrees upon. Then further examine those to discover if each is truly a S.M.A.R.T. goal. If your family is a democracy, then vote. Perhaps parents could each have two votes so that the children don’t overrule.
A secondary idea is a family focus or theme for the year. This is not my original idea, but I really like it. This could also be chosen through the family brain storming and elimination method. The possibilities are endless. Here are a few ideas: Year of Joy, Year of Gratitude, or Year of Grace. “Grateful, Thankful, Blessed” is a popular saying. Perhaps it could be a springboard for ideas. The theme does not have to be a character trait or a virtue but could be something fun such as, the Year of Color or the Year of Running.
Once the theme is chosen, a placque or banner could be created to be a daily reminder. Perhaps a scripture could be chosen to be memorized. Play an on-going game of who can most quickly identify references to the theme in music, movies, audio books, sermons . . . . Commend each other for living and practicing your chosen theme. Plan some activities, adventures or experiences to understand and apply the theme.
Use your creativity to discover ways to incorporate the theme in your family life. Establish some fun reminders to keep everyone on track. Don’t become rigid or legalistic.
January is a great time to establish a yearly family theme or resolution. But they can happen at any time. Some other “start” times might be the beginning of summer, a new school year or school semester, any holiday, the first of any month, or whatever time works best for your family. January is not the only time we can begin something new.
We all appreciate a fresh start or a do-over sometimes. I think this is the appeal of a new year. God, by his grace, gives us this when we confess our sin and He forgives us. A tangible way to demonstrate this to our children is to forgive or do away with the punishment our children deserve. Yes, it is important for them to learn about consequences and be responsible for their behavior. But, I also believe that somewhere in their learning there is a prime opportunity to offer forgiveness so that their hearts can be softened rather than become more rebellious. This could happen in the Year of Grace.
May this be a great year for your family.