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Forget Resolutions! Make Time for Reflection

Parenting continues to teach me lessons when I least expect them to.

Many people make lists of things they will change or let go of in the New Year, resolutions as they are aptly called. I like to take a moment of reflection in the beginning of the New Year with my family — a time to reflect on the year as a whole, think of the exciting places we've been, the experiences we've had, the great movies we've seen. 

This year I stumbled across this wonderful blog, Run Lucas Run, in which the author created exactly what I was looking for: a list of questions that captures who my children are right now. My plan is to do this each year, seal them in an envelope and open them a year later.

The questions are quite simple:

My name is:

My favorite food:

I love to play:

My favorite singing + dancing song:

A place I’d like to visit:

My favorite story-time book:

My favorite treat:

My best friend is:

I love the color: 

One Friday night, we sat around the dining room table after dinner and completed the questions. Both boys were living in the moment, as children tend to be. The answers to the questions typically were the things they like to do right now, books they are currently reading, etc.

My children don't yet understand the concept of reflection, and as I was trying to explain it to them I thought to myself, "Isn't this exactly what I am always trying to achieve? To be in the NOW, to be living in the present moment?"

Part of me wanted to reach across the table and rip up the cards, but the other part of me knew that, in a few years, I am going to cherish these little 4-by-6 inch pieces of paper with their 6- and 8-year-old handwriting and drawings. Their delight in the present moment taught me a lesson I've often tried to achieve: to allow myself to let go of the past. And live presently.

Soon enough my boys will grow and become adults. Like me, they will be striving to live in the present moment, forgetting what it's like to be a kid. They will most likely at some point make resolutions instead of answering the wonderful question: I love to play... 

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