If you’ve ever made a New Year’s resolution, your resolutions have probably fallen into the same categories of most Americans – Lose Weight; Getting Organized; Spend Less, Save More; Enjoy Life to the Fullest; Staying Fit and Healthy; Learn Something Exciting; Quit Smoking; Help Others in Their Dreams; Fall in Love; and Spend More Time with Family.
And just like most Americans who’ve made New Year’s resolutions, the odds are that you did not succeed at your resolution. Even worse, the odds are that more than likely you failed to keep your resolution the entire year.
CAN’T TELL ME NOTHING
For many people who know me this next statement will come absent any surprise. As a child, I found it enormously difficult to follow directions.
Reflecting on my childhood, I can’t even begin to count the number of times that I heard my mother say “Nate, just be quiet”. In fact, during my childhood, if you didn’t know my full name, you might have very well assumed that my first name was “Nate” and my surname was “JustBeQuiet”.
From telling me to stop debating with my father to admonishing me for challenging “authority”, the request for me to “just do it” because I was told to do something was all too common. To my mother’s dismay I couldn’t “just be quiet”. Painfully and to the detriment of my bottom, I also couldn’t just do something solely because I was told to do so.
As a child I wasn’t purposefully obstinate. Like most children, I just wanted to know why. I wanted to know why I had to do something. I wanted to know why I was expected to behave a certain way. I wanted to know why I had to go somewhere that I absolutely had no interest in going.
More than anything, I wanted to know why I had to act in a manner that was definitive and resolute such as being on time, keeping my word, and respecting everyone. As a child, I simply wanted to know why I was expected to walk a particular path and abide by rules that most adults seemed incapable of doing and unwilling to follow.
YOU FAILED AGAIN
Just in case it hadn’t dawned on you, you should know that my childhood story is probably not very different from your child’s. Over the years, I’ve had enough conversations with children to know that I am not the only child who asked and wanted to know why – all the time.
Your children want to know why you haven’t lost the weight you resolved to lose last year. Your children want to know why you work so much and spend so little time with them even after you promised to do better. Your children may not ask but they even want to know why you so often look dissatisfied with your life but refuse to take the necessary steps to live your life to the fullest.
REMEMBER LIL’ NATE
So here’s my New Year’s word to the wise and my two cents for 2016. As your commitment to achieving your New Year’s resolution begins to wane, I want you to remember little Nate. Because just as I watched and measured the behavior and commitments of the adults in my life, your children are watching and measuring you.
Your children desperately need to know that you won’t ask more from them than you are willing to demand of yourself. Your children need to believe that when you talk to them about being committed to their own success at school, on the team, and at work that you are committed to doing the things you said you would do. Your children need you to keep and achieve all of your New Year’s Resolutions.
Happy New Year to you and yours!
Do your children see you as the model of a relentless pursuit of excellence? What did you resolve to do this year that you are almost ready to quit doing? Are you familiar with the meaning of the word hypocrite?