Happy New Year! I think for most of us, we were eager to close out 2021 and start anew. Although we all undoubtedly experienced many positive and exciting moments last year (I celebrated the birth of my fifth grandchild, a college graduation, and a wedding reception), it was sometimes difficult to focus on the joyful moments when the strain of COVID restrictions were always looming large. In St. Paul’s letter to the Corinthians (13:13), he encourages us to “abide in faith, hope, and love.” Without hope, I think many might have given up long ago, so even though we are still in the midst of a pandemic, boy are we rooting for you, 2022!
The new year gives us the opportunity to make some changes to our routines and bad habits, but unfortunately surveys indicate most people give up on their resolutions by the end of January. In their book One Word That Will Change Your Life, authors Dan Britton, Jimmy Page, and Jon Gordon recommend choosing a single word to guide our focus, direction, and decision-making. There are so many possibilities, though – how can I possibly choose?
One of my favorite quotes from American poet Maya Angelou offers three great options: “If you must look back, do so forgivingly. If you must look forward, do so prayerfully. However, the wisest thing you can do is be present in the present gratefully.” (Forgiving, Prayerful, Grateful)
American actress Betty White, who passed away on December 31 just shy of her 100th birthday, attributed her longevity to a trait she acquired from her mother: she stated she was “a cock-eyed optimist.” (Optimistic)
Winston Churchill gives us an abundance of material to choose from: “Success is not final, failure is not fatal, it is the courage to continue that counts.” (Courageous)
On New Year’s Day, we celebrated the Solemnity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, who offers us many traits to emulate. (Humble, Gentle, Patient, Charitable)
Choosing one word is also manageable for children as well, and while a year may be too long for younger students to stay focused, perhaps a word each month would be a possibility. For example, this month, I will focus on being: Kind (to my siblings), Helpful (by doing some chores around the house), Responsible (by doing my homework as soon as I get home from school). Children should have the opportunity to select their word for the month, which will give them ownership and better ensure success. (For families with multiple children, perhaps it would be easier to select a word for the entire family). It is also important to give children the opportunity to share ways they have tried to demonstrate their chosen trait as often as possible.
After much thought and reflection, I have selected my word for the year. So far, so good (although it’s only been two days ☺). I still made several other resolutions as well, just in case. Good Luck everyone, and Good Luck 2022!