Editor's note: This article was originally published on Saren Eyre Loosli's blog, Power of Moms. It has been republished here with permission.
Most of us set some personal resolutions in January. But what about our families? This is a great time to discuss what's working and not working in our families and decide on some things we're going to work on together.
In preparation for New Year's, we sat down together as a family and talked about what resolutions are, shared some of our personal resolutions, and brainstormed some family resolutions for the year. Each child picked one thing they think we should really work on as a family and together, we honed the list of everyone's suggestions and decided on five resolutions we're all committed to working on together.
Then each child made a sign to go with one of the resolutions – handy having five resolutions and five kids!
Here are our family resolutions:
Be on time
Eliza included the things I guess I'm always saying in those bubbles at the top – "We're late!" "Hurry! They have been waiting!" "I've tried so hard to be on time – work with me here, people!" "If you hurried a bit faster, we could have been on time!" – yep, definitely a resolution we need in our family and I need to get better at padding the time it takes to get places …
In case you can't make out what it says at the bottom, it says "Quickly, hapilie, well." We're going to work harder on doing things quickly, happily and well when asked. We talked about how it's just so annoying for parents and kids alike when we have to ask kids to do things again and again and confirmed with the kids that we'll always ask them to do pretty easy things that probably take like 5-10 minutes so they might as well just get it done rather than spend that 5-10 minutes complaining!
Silas included pictures of a guy skiing, doing push-ups and running. We're all excited to ski a lot this year and make sure we get some sort of exercise every day to keep our bodies healthy and keep the kids from getting stir-crazy and hyped up so much. A quick walk around the block or running up and down the stairs will do!
We're going to reach out to those in our school, neighborhood and community to make new friends and help those in need. We'll report back to each other every week on the people we've gotten to know and the ways we've been able to help.
We have SO much to be grateful for! And when we take the time to express our gratitude, we realize more fully how much we have and we feel happier. The kids have been good about writing little thank-you notes to teachers, coaches, etc. through Thanksgiving and Christmas and we want to keep this happy feeling of gratitude going all year by regularly expressing gratitude both individually and collectively to each other, to God, and to all those who impact our lives.
We posted the five signs on the fridge so we can all keep them in mind this week. Then, starting next Sunday, we'll talk about how everyone is doing with each family resolution at the dinner table and nominate ourselves or someone else to receive the "award" for being the most thankful, friendly, obedient, on-time, or good at exercising. The "winner" of each award will simply put the sign that goes with what they've been awarded on their bedroom door for the week, bringing it back to the Sunday dinner table to be re-awarded the next week. I'll put each paper in a plastic sheet protector so they stay in good shape throughout the year.
And who knows? Maybe we'll want to switch things up after a while and focus on some different resolutions. That'll be fine. But the kids picked these resolutions and feel a real sense of ownership of them so we'll honor that and start strong with these five.
This whole process took less than an hour and we're all feeling fired up about this new year! This morning everyone was right on time for breakfast and we were right on time for school. The kids were extra quickly and happily obedient this morning. And we talked in the car on the way to school about strategies for being friendly and thankful at school and ideas for what we'll do for exercise today.
Saren adores her five energetic, adventurous, precocious children but doesn't totally adore the mess and busyness and bickering that comes with them! She grew up all over the world, did her B.A. at Wellesley College and her M.Ed. at Harvard, did humanitarian service in Eastern Europe, and conducted training programs for teachers and enrichment programs for kids. But after she got married and had her five children, the real education and work began! When she's not trying to answer five different needs and questions at once, she writes and puts together programs for moms for the website she co-directs, Power of Moms. She currently lives in Ogden, Utah and loves reading, hiking, and biking with her family (or by herself when possible!). She often struggles with balance but finds joy in being involved in many things that are meaningful to her.