Sunday, December 30, 2007

Resolution Solutions

New Year’s Resolutions are pretty much made to broken. There are good intentions behind them – or at least behind some of them – and the naming of such behavior-changing objectives at the start of a new year is a good lesson for both parent and child; it’s the follow-through in which the true lesson lies.

For my eldest child and son, Blake, I resolve to: Breathe and wait patiently – or as patiently as I can muster – when weeks go by without an email. I resolve to stop bugging him every other email about purchasing a cell phone that works internationally, so that he can call me from his base in far-off Okinawa. I additionally resolve to cease inquiring as to whether or not a marriage is in his future, either short- or long-term. Experiencing grandchildren before I am too much older and grayer and less spry would be really nice, but I will zip my lip in 2008 (can’t promise the same for 2009 however).

For my 22-year-old son Kenny, I resolve to: Keep remembering that he is just 22 and not necessarily ready to settle down with a “real” job. Any job is preferable right now, but I resolve to gently remind him of that fact, not get right in his face. The urge to lay a gigantic motherly guilt trip on his young self is strong to tremendous, yet I will endeavor to position such a trip in a more tactful, less obvious (but hopefully quite effective) manner. I additionally resolve to resist contacting him the nano-second something goes awry with my computer or I-Touch or other such similar electronic, technological device.

For my daughter, Janet, I resolve to: be less judgmental of certain actions and fashions. I may not agree with the why’s, but I will try and let her be her, whatever the metamorphosis entails this freshman year. I will also be extra careful about using words and phrases more appropriate for a teen than a middle-aged mother of four. Slang like “whatevs,” “kickin’ ,” “word up” and “hooking up.” To me, “hooking up” means meeting with someone, but apparently in teen-dom it means something altogether less innocent.

For youngest son and child, Jack, a sixth grader, I resolve to: stop asking him if he has a girlfriend, quit reminding him to do his homework while he is in the midst of doing it (only to me it doesn’t look as if he is since the television is on), and bring an end to playfully requesting he score a dozen points for me in his basketball games. I didn’t realize he took that silly suggestion to heart and the pressure was a pain, to say the least. Of course I hope he resolves to lighten up and recognize a joke when he hears one!

Kids should make resolutions too, even if they last but a day or a week or a month or two. Everyone has area for improvement, even those who are still in the process of growing, maturing and finding their way in the world.

“Stick to your guns,” “Follow through on your responsibilities,” “Finish what your started,” aren’t simply annoying parental axioms. They are time-honored and often-tested truths that we can all benefit from on the journey to becoming better, more service-oriented, more self-esteemed human beings. Actually, not just humans being, but humans doing.

In terms of much uttered wise suggestions, though, lies the ever-popular, “Do as I say, not as I do.” If you’re gonna state a resolution, model to your kids that you can actually execute it.

I resolve to resolve that oft-unresolved suggestion. How about you?

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