Kids Talk New Year's Resolutions

Or, how my children are more evolved than me

Photograph by Getty Images/iStockphoto

The New Year is right around the corner. After the champagne has been drained and all manner of holiday delicacies have been consumed, it’s time to once again start down the path to a better me.

It’s an annual rite of passage. I simply cannot resist the hypnotic pull of the clean slate stretching out before me for a glorious 365 days. Tapping into its restorative powers, I inevitably sputter on about the new goals I intend to conquer.

In order to ensure success, I usually set the bar relatively low, like reorganizing my silverware drawer or committing to one pushup a week (and I’m not referring to the ones found in the dessert aisle).

My children have been witness to any number of my efforts.

“Resolutions are for grown-ups only.” —My 10-year-old son

Some resolutions, like abstaining from sugar, crashed and burned, but others, like getting off my butt to run my first 5k, were actually seen through to glorious fruition. It leaves me wondering, though, what my kids’ takeaways are on resolutions. Are they a foolhardy waste of time or totally worth the disciplined effort?

Here’s what my 10-year-old had to say. “Resolutions are for grown-ups only.”

“Why’s that?” I felt compelled to ask.

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My little sage responded, “Because they are the only ones that need to make changes every year.”

Ouch. Point taken.

I decided to check in with my oldest, a college junior. His take was a little more introspective, but no less damning.

“Resolutions don’t work. To truly change, people need to undergo some sort of trauma or catharsis. Ringing in the New Year is not a reason. Resolutions are a waste of time.”

I decided to push the envelope and ask each of them the same question: “If you were to embark on a New Year’s resolution, what would it be?”

Before I had time to blink, my youngest responded, “Try not to keep too many possessions and try to give away stuff I don’t need.”

I was about to ask, “Who are you and what have you done with my son?” when my oldest chimed in.

“This year, I will try to be a better person.”

Sensing that he was either A, being evasive or B, mocking me, I pressed him for specifics. He obliged.

“I will try to do a random act of kindness every day.”

My own goals suddenly seemed so self-centered, so shallow. Then I decided to tell him about a certain silverware drawer that could use a little kindness.

Does this make me a bad person? Not to worry. New Year’s is right around the corner.

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