Excepting more embarrassing personal stuff, here are the changes I hope to make next year:
- I’m gonna speak softly to my kids. I’m loud. With my choice of words and opinions as much as my volume. Children don’t need that extra emotion as they’re figuring out the world. Often times I bark at my kids when they make a mistake or disobey. On a whim recently, I tried something different. Instead of scolding my three year old with a mean face and verbal outburst, I kneeled down, leveled my eyes with hers, softly expressed my disappointment, and encouraged her to change. She lovingly accepted and immediately improved her behavior. After overhearing the exchange, her older sister said, “Dad, I like when you talk to us like that. I feel a warm spirit in the room when you do that.” Then this happened. Then I resolved to speak kindly when disciplining my children from that day forward.
- I’m gonna be nicer to my dad. My father is the family whipping boy. Very rarely do my siblings or I stick up for him, at least that’s how I remember it. Granted, his pessimist outlook sometimes warrants the resistance. But it’s no excuse for my writing him off, especially since I still seek his approval. As a result, I can be flippant, cocky, and condescending when speaking to him. It’s totally uncalled for. Doubly so after all he’s done for me. In short, I need to be a better son, which I often forget while juggling husbandhood (is that a word?) and fatherhood.
- I’m gonna remove swear words from my vocabulary. I’ve always been one to go sailor mouth in a heated argument with my wife. And while I’ve made improvements in that regard, sometime this year I let salty language enter my everyday vocabulary. Admittedly, swearing can be funny when used right. But they’re a cheap funny; thoughtless and overused. So I’m gonna do away with them for a season. The crass stays, though. Sorry, Lindz—it’s inborn.
- I’m adding inside scoopers (myself included) to my list of people to avoid. Click for context.
- I will consider the fruit of my decisions before choosing. One of the greatest pieces of life advice I received in 2013 was this: Consider what fruit your decisions will bear before making choices. My wife taught me this and has already started incorporating it into the joint decisions we make. It’s empowering and adds so much clarity to what’s being decided. It can be a difficult question to answer or predict, especially for smaller decisions. But it’s motivated me to rethink my media diet even more, as well as other time-consuming behaviors that get in the way of my bucket list, analog adventures, continuous education, my unpublished book, or living instead of just existing.
What resolutions do you hope to make?