Breaking down the R-word for 2013

    The word resolution is so stuffy. It’s also over-used in our everyday dialogue and narrative in the month of January. Parenting magazines and housekeeping articles throw lists of resolutions at us, and we think, this will be the year!

    I’ve decided that I am fond of the scientific definition of resolution: “the act or process of separating or reducing something into its constituent parts: for example, the prismatic resolution of sunlight into its spectral colors.”

    So Philadelphia families, let’s break down our lives into all the colorful parts that make us feel alive and resolve to make them the most vivid we can. Adults and children alike, let’s find all kinds of paths to joy!

    Parent and Kid Resolutions:

    • WHYY thanks our sponsors — become a WHYY sponsor

    1) Read more. There are so many reasons for adults and children to read more in general, but let’s really break this down in 2013. Our lives are full of electronics. It’s a normal occurrence to be surrounded by screens all day. My children love their new portable DVD players, and so do I. But after the set amount of time, I kick them off all the screens, hand them books, and sit down with them, while we each read our own selections. The boys are reading early readers about the Avengers. My daughter is reading Nancy Drew mysteries. I’m reading yoga memoirs. See Five Book-Happy Spots.

    2) Write more. We don’t have to be writers to form a regular writing practice! Writing in a journal has been proven over and over to bring clarity to our lives. I’ve started writing 750 words (the same amount of writing that Julia Cameron recommends in her classic book on creativity, The Artist’s Way)almost every day for the last month and I feel ideas formulating easier. I’ve started buying little notebooks for all my children to fill on a regular basis. It’s also a great way for some children to calm down when feeling overwhelmed. See Writer-in-Residence, Minter Krotzer and her classes at Big Blue Marble Bookstore. And the new Story Corners writing classes by writer Cordelia Jensen for 8 to 12-year-olds, also at Big Blue Marble.

    3) Learn more about your neighbors. Eric Klinenberg, a sociologist at New York University, recently wrote an article in the New Yorker about the effects of a strong social community during crisis and natural disaster situations. It turns out that when neighborhoods have supportive local businesses, neighbors that know and look out for each other, and other social connections, it can help people survive and even provide longer lives. Hang out in your local businesses. Organize informal meet-ups and gatherings in local parks, fun-filled sidewalk sales, or just simple potlucks. It doesn’t have to be big and fancy. Social connections are knowing that if you need some support or just a little bit of fun, you can find it right around the corner.

    4) Gain a world perspective. While forming local connections, gain the world perspective that reminds us we are a part of a bigger picture. Our lives are enriched by including a multicultural and global vision in everything we do for ourselves and our children. Attend events at the Molefi Kete Asante Institute and the Asian Arts Initiative. Learn a new language online with your kids, with free classes on Babbel. Find interesting international videos, articles, and more on the excellent site Open Culture.

    5) Take it one day at a time. I guess the reason I was always reluctant to talk about resolutions is my constant mantra in the back of my head that I’m not being a good enough parent or person in this world. I didn’t need more reminders of goals I never got done! So the resolution I give to all family members now is to just take it one day at a time. Don’t beat yourselves up over not making crafts with the kids over the weekend, and instead telling them to go to their room with a movie.

    Practice your own forms of mindful meditation, breathing exercises, and other ways to keep grounded. The Peaceful Piggy meditation books are excellent ways to introduce children to meditation. Find ways to practice self-care. Joy can be found in even the most tedious tasks. Blessings can be found in the every day ins and outs of our lives.

    Northwest Philly Parents is a partnership between NewsWorks and Germantown Avenue Parents.

    WHYY is your source for fact-based, in-depth journalism and information. As a nonprofit organization, we rely on financial support from readers like you. Please give today.

    Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

    Together we can reach 100% of WHYY’s fiscal year goal