I don't "do" resolutions. I used to. Dutifully. Every year I'd mull over my options over the waning days of a year trying to pin point the biggest areas of my young life where change was required. And yet, invariably, every year those things would fall by the wayside before Valentine's Day cards got bought.
It's not that I lack discipline. Really, it's a very simple problem. I'm, how do we say, quite mercurial. What's paramount today does not always hold the same urgency tomorrow. What seemed resolution worthy on December 28th may have lasted until January 7th and then, well frankly, it got trumped by a new priority.
My five year old has decided, for the first time in his life, to declare a New Year's resolution. When I was annually resolving I aimed for specifics - I will increase fitness by walking daily. I will exercise my brain by reading a biography on every president (I've been stuck on John Adams for the last 6 years, by the way.)
The boy, however, takes a different approach. He resolves broadly. His tactic, perhaps, is that it's easier to achieve a goal if you're not caught up in the nitty gritty of how you're going to do it. It's easier to make a life change if you build in some wiggle room.
"For the new year," he said with his eyes locked solemnly on mine and his warm, larger than it used to be hand tucked comfortably in the crook of my arm, "I'm going to make a resolution to try to be a better boy. I'm going to try hard to be a better listener and I'm really going to work on not getting as mad at my sister even when she's mortifying me." (Yes, he did say mortifying.)
I didn't know how to respond. The cynic in me wanted to wave the John Adams bio and say "resolutions, ha!" The mom in me won out and I praised him for identifying areas of his life where he wanted to grow and improve.
It was later, when I was recounting the day for my husband, that I referred to his plans as "lofty goals." Except then I realized the kid wasn't really "all pie in the sky." Perhaps he was better at this resolution stuff than I realized. Maybe, if I stopped projecting my own "New Year flops" on the poor kid, I'd learn a thing or two.
Looking back on the years I resolved and failed, I realized that if I had followed Logan's model I might be farther along the shelf of biographies by now. I might be in better physical shape. I might have accomplished a lot of other things. My old way of going about it did little more than set myself up for failure. It was an absolute all or nothing. I had no room built in for stumbles. It became a labor of duty not a passion for self-improvement.
Logan's resolution, however, gives him the benefit of the doubt. He's going to try. He's going to work. He's going to do his best -- and if his best falls short of literal improvement, so be it. . . because his goal is simply to try. Something tells me that in that simple, attainable goal he'll find bigger, far reaching success.
Something tells me I ought to listen to the boy and accept that sometimes he really does know better than me. . .even at 5 years old.