Our 2020 New Year’s Resolutions (B)

I resolve to be even more accepting of and tolerant with people with differing personalities, traits and characteristics, personal styles, individual values and beliefs, and for their idiosyncrasies. I will also work at better managing fluctuations in people’s moods, points of view, and interests.

I resolve that especially with friends, co-workers and family, I will always assume that they will succeed, assume that they will do things correctly, assume that they will give everything they do their best effort. I’m surprised when other people make mistakes, give things less than their best effort, don’t succeed. Since I expect success, I’ll take on some degree of personal responsibility for mistakes of others, lackluster effort, non-success. My first take on the situation is that I haven’t been smart enough or skilled enough to effectuate the right outcome. For that reason, I’ll work with the person to identify the deficiencies. When possible, I’ll modify my performance so that I can facilitate the other person’s success.

I resolve to try harder to accept people as is. My goal isn’t to change anyone. Rather, I’ll make the effort to focus on encouraging and facilitating in ways that enable each person to achieve optimal performance within the context of their skills, abilities, and interests. Concurrently, I expect people to expand and improve their capacities and am ready to help with that process however I can. I don’t expect People to change but expect them to grow and develop.

I resolve to do a better job with remembering to praise my children, friends and family when they do well. I’ll take care not to praise too little but also will try to avoid making it seem like little more than a polite habit. I won’t be stingy with praise nor be excessive with it. I’ll be quick to recognize and acknowledge the successes and accomplishments of others but won’t confuse praise with simple good manners. Please and thank you and noting that someone did a good job or was helpful are not examples of praise. They are rather, merely examples of good manners and are just part of my habitual deportment. Alternatively, praise is an intentional and thoughtful action which privately or publicly acknowledges and commends excellence. I reserve praise for exceptional or extraordinary performance, never missing an opportunity to praise when anyone meets that standard.

I resolve to resist the temptation to either focus on what is not going well or on what is. It may be a function of human nature to attend mostly to the negative or to the positive, depending on one’s personality; but I’ll keep in mind that this is not a simple matter of choice or personal preference. The key to my success is seeing that neither focusing on the positive nor on the negative is advisable. Here’s the perspective I’ll always try to keep in mind. The reality is that things are continuously transitioning from a past state to a future state. My primary responsibility is to affect the transition so as to actualize the desired future state. To do this, the task is to reduce and eliminate the disparity between the present and future states, without redefining or compromising the desired future state. My focus then needs to be on the cluster of elements that affect the future state either as contributors or as detractors, understanding that neither is more or less important than the other. Focus must be on the gestalt. In short, I’ll be keeping my eye on the big picture, on the way on down the road.

Test Your Parenting

Diane Loomans once reminisced, “If I had my child to raise all over again, I’d build self-esteem first, and the house later. I’d finger-paint more, and point the finger less. I would do less correcting and more connecting. I’d take my eyes off my watch, and watch with my eyes. I’d take more hikes and fly more kites. I’d stop playing serious, and seriously play. I would run through more fields and gaze at more stars. I’d do more hugging and less tugging.”

Being a parent is both satisfying and challenging. Knowing exactly how to handle any situation can be very difficult. Sloan Wilson captured the central issue this way, “The hardest part of raising a child is teaching them to ride bicycles. A shaky child on a bicycle for the first time needs both support and freedom. The realization that this is what the child will always need can hit hard.”

Although being a parent is very complex and will have many twists and turns over the years, knowing how you and your child are doing through the process is less daunting. If the following statements are most always tru for you as a parent, both you and your child are most likely making the journey rather successfully. Before we get to the statements though, there is a point that needs emphasis. Joyce Maynard made the point for us this way when she said, “It’s not only children who grow. Parents do too. As much as we watch to see what our children do with their lives, they are watching us to see what we do with ours.”

Okay, here we go. Think about each statement and honestly decide if it is true for you. If it is, you and your child are probably doing just fine. If not, you definitely have some work to do and possibly changes to make with your parent relationship with your child.

1. I am reasonable and fair when disciplining my child.

2. I know what my child needs and what is important to him or her.

3. I am able to get my child to cooperate with me.

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Testing Your Mental Health

1. What do you think it means to have good mental health?

2. What do you do to help your mental health?

3. What do you like about yourself?

4. What helps you feel happy, excited, satisfied? What kinds of people, situations, things help you feel good, help you be emotionally positive?

5. When do you feel unhappy? What kinds of people, situations, or things get you to feeling afraid, angry, sad, confused, or feeling emotionally negative?

6. Sometimes our negative emotions get out of balance and sort of take over. When this happens, we sometimes have problems with our behavior and adjustment. When your emotions get a little out of balance and the negative emotions take over, what kinds of problems does it cause you with your behavior, your adjustment?

7. Our feelings are okay. This includes feeling afraid, angry, or sad. How we deal with our feelings makes a difference, though. How do you deal with it when you feel angry, when you feel afraid, when you feel sad?

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Too Smart to be That Dumb

There are many reasons why some of us succeed while others of us are only getting by. One of the more hidden reasons is directly related to how successful people – yes, all of them — communicate. They always have smart conversations. While others are having simple conversations, the successful are doing smart, without anyone noticing. Do you communicate for success? I doubt that you ever do otherwise. I am assuming that you are too smart to be that dumb. Listen and hear how it works.