New Year’s Reflections
January is always a time in which my family and I reflect on the past year and dream about our hopes for the future. We try and step back and look at the big picture before diving into our specific plans or organizing projects. Why not make it a time for you to reflect specifically on your role as a parent? Sometimes it helps me to have specific questions to lead my thinking. The following series provides an opportunity to guide yourself through a thought process in order to reflect on the past and look toward the future.
What gives you the greatest sense of meaning in your life (this does not have to be parenting!)?
When you think of the person who has made the strongest positive impact on your life, why do you believe he or she has had such a powerful influence?
Who do you admire (living, dead, celebrity or a real presence in your life)? What qualities do they possess? What values do they live?
What are your personal gifts and talents? What do you do best?
When do you feel the greatest sense of satisfaction with your life?
What gives you joy?
How are you continuing to learn and develop yourself? In what areas do you want to learn and grow? Where do you seek support and access opportunities for learning?
What kind of person do you want to be?
What drains your energy the most?
What challenges you the most – in life? In parenting?
What supports do you have or could you consider putting in place that might help you with those challenges?
What are your greatest strengths as a parent? What do you do really well with/for your children/family?
How are you connecting with your partner? Do you feel you have quality time together? What kind of time do you most enjoy spending with him/her? How can you make that time happen in the coming year?
How are you connecting with your children? Do you feel you have quality time together? What kind of time do you most enjoy spending with them? How can you devote that kind of time in the coming year?
What positive experiences in your own childhood shaped you as a parent?
What experiences in your own childhood are you trying not to repeat as a parent? These are values, strategies or ways of being that you do not want for your children and are purposely trying not to replicate.
Are any of your experiences from childhood serving as a barrier to you being the best you can be as a parent? If so, what are some ways you can deal with them to support yourself and allow for new strategies to take the place of old ones?
How do you define your purpose as an individual? How does your purpose fit with your role as a parent?
How do you incorporate your gifts, talents, joys and sense of meaning into your daily life? How do you incorporate them into your role as a parent? Are there additional ways you could bring those aspects of who you are into your parenting?
How are you modeling and teaching your values as a family to your children?
Considering your reflections on the questions above, which most compels you to action? How would you most like to improve? Set one goal for the new year that is measurable, specific and achievable. Ask, “How will I know that I have accomplished my goal at the end of the coming year?” In addition, make sure you have identified how the implementation of your goal will be supported by your family members and through your daily routines.
I look forward to another year of learning and growing together through our dialogue on parenting and children’s social and emotional development. Happy New Year!