The New Year can be many things, and is often a time to consider ways to reboot and retool for our next trip around the sun. Like many, I spent some time thinking about how I wanted to approach it. What do I want to set out to do this year…what’s my vision? Maybe it’s bigger than the previous year’s set of intentions. One thing’s for sure, I want to put my family first.
This of course is always the intention, but finding ways to take action is set as a priority. My health, my career, my overall well being, comes down to my family and the quality time we spend together. Reflecting on Grace Bonney’s book, In the Company of Women, one of the many passionate and entrepreneurial woman she interviews describes success as quality of life. I think she is spot on.
After writing about what I wanted for the year, I decided to think about some things that I want for my own kids and those whom I am privileged to mentor and educate. My kids are 5 and 3 and when we opened the conversation about setting goals, my son remembered what we have told him in the past- if you don’t set a goal, you aren’t going to reach it!
The complete list runs the gamut from regularly feeding the pet turtle to learning to swim, however this short list is fit for all ages at home. Perhaps this will provide some inspiration for your own little ones and encourage you to help them shine their light a little brighter.
1. Explore friendships. It seems like a lofty goal for a little one, but really it comes down to the golden rule: treat others as you would like to be treated. Navigating friendships is a huge part of child development- understanding how to communicate with others, knowing how to be grounded and stand up for what you believe, and how to approach daily situations with others with kindness and compassion. Allow your kids time to test the waters themselves with kids in their class, at the playground, or on sports teams, and help them learn from each experience, both the good and the bad, and guide them along the way.
.2 Practice service. Help your children understand the importance of helping those in need. Not only will this instill confidence and compassion in kids, it will help them understand empathy and the importance of being a community member. Allow them to see for themselves all the things which they have to be grateful for.
3. Be an environmental steward. My husband is notorious for picking up trash when we are out hiking or walking around the neighborhood. I have never really thought much about it until recently when I realized the impact it was having on our kids. I was at the Chattahoochee with my son and his friend, and our adventure went from a bike ride into a trash collecting extravaganza. They were so interested in getting the trash from the trail to the to the can and I realized that my husband has instilled this compassion for the environment in our kids. So whatever your passion in the great outdoors may be, share it with your kids and help them understand how important this is for our future.
4. Respect for our bodies. This has three equally important parts- eating, sleeping, and exercising. We are healthy eaters and avid exercisers around our house. It’s a way of life for us as I work everyday to manage type one diabetes through both of these avenues. My kids see me making cold pressed juice and eating salads everyday, and running or doing yoga before the sun comes up, and because this is what they see everyday, it is also what they know to do! Lead by example for our kids, they never miss a beat.
Cheers to 2017!