I do like the idea of New Year’s Resolutions. It’s like the first day of school. It represents a fresh start or a new beginning. It’s an opportunity to exchange one desire for another. An example: I’ve decided to exchange my desire for my daily can of ice cold Coca Cola, for my desire to have a waist 2 inches smaller. I have a specific purpose. I want a slimmer look via the elimination of love handles. I’m willing to ditch the sugar. That’s the key to new habits; your new desire is worth ditching the old desire. I think of it as a cost/benefit analysis. The new desire has got to be worth my effort for me to stick with it.
So, since I like the idea of New Year Resolutions why not inflict it on our unsuspecting new students. Besides that, this activity will identify your most thoughtful students as apposed to your more vocal extroverted students and many times less thoughtful.
Their assignment — “Today you have the opportunity to write 5 Resolutions demonstrating a healthy or more mature behavior that will benefit you. It is possible for anyone to change the direction of their life. We are works in progress.”
Teacher Note: If you want to give my example go ahead. I’ve provided more thought provoking ideas below. The idea is get the kids thinking about things they can do to be happier with themselves, others and above all healthier physically, mentally and socially. Give the students 10-15 minutes and discuss their resolutions. (Compare, contrast, Will you stick with it?, Will it benefit you?, How will it benefit you? Make them think out loud. People steal ideas all the time to be better at something.)
More examples of ideas you can provide for your students. These ideas can be used by the students as they compose their resolutions. You can give the students the option of making up ALL their own resolutions or choosing (pick a number) 1 or 2 of the ideas below and rewriting them as a resolution of their own. It is your choice. Have fun.
- We all console ourselves when things don’t work out, go wrong, end badly. How we console ourselves over wrongs done to us can be more destructive than the wrongs themselves. So consider this — how do you console yourself when you feel wronged, overlooked, rejected or cheated? How is your heart? Is it Angry? Jealous? Merciful? Forgiving? Seeking revenge? This is important to know because feelings (how you are consoling yourself) lead to actions (constructive/destructive).
2. Being different is a lifestyle choice. What is perfectly lawful, culturally permissible and your friends are doing it and want you to join them isn’t necessarily what is right for you. If something isn’t good for your future, “Are you willing to say No to your friends?”
3. Introduce yourself/talk to everyone in your classes/job/neighborhood/team/club that you see every day. Don’t be a shy or a snob. Interest in others is a courtesy we have forgotten because our face is glued to a phone.
4. Spend more time looking and talking with people instead of looking, reading and texting on your phone.
5. Own your mistakes and learn how to say a proper apology. It will shock people because they haven’t heard a real one in years. Here’s a hint: These are the 5 Steps necessary for an effective apology.
a. An expression of regret — (you have to look, act and speak in a humble manner)
b. A total acceptance of responsibility — (no excuses — an excuse implies I’m not completely responsible (example; If I offended you, I’m sorry.)
c. Restitution: Asking “What can I do to make this situation right?”
d. Repentance: Genuinely and sincerely saying I’m really sorry.
e. Asking for forgiveness — this is the toughest and most important step of all. This is very humbling because the other person might not forgive and / or forget. There are painful consequences to thoughtless behavior. Not to mention: “I did all this groveling and they still won’t forgive me and we can’t be friends. Practice makes perfect.
6. Once a month write an old fashioned letter to someone — a relative, teacher, coach, neighbor. Tell them what you are doing, how much you appreciate or appreciated them for. . . .….. Thank them for what you learned from them, why they are special to you. They will probably save the letter, think about you and think what a wonderful ___________. Stop and think — “When was the last time, someone thought I was wonderful?” If you can’t think of a time, write a letter, put a stamp on it and mail it.
7. Listen to people. Try to understand why they think the way they do? Let them talk. Really listen without expecting anything in return. Ask them questions that continue the conversation. There is no greater gift than genuinely listening to a person without interrupting, judging, educating or giving your opinion.
8. Make friends with someone at least 35 years older than yourself. You’d be amazed how interesting people over 50 are. They saw the Rolling Stones perform when the Stones were in their 20’s. People over 50 were young when:
- the sexual revolution in the 60’s began. They saw the progression of behavioral change and it’s consequence for the last 40 some years.
- they witnessed the assassinations of John F Kennedy, Martin Luther King, Bobby Kennedy and the grieving afterward. It changed them.
- the civil right movement began and they were a part of the positive changes that came after.
- They lived in the history you read about in school. They have an up close and personal perspective. They know stuff. They made all the mistakes you want to make right now. They know just how much mistakes cost in terms of dollars, in relationships, in their feelings about themselves and in lost opportunities.
9. When you are having a bad day, do the impossible, talk with your parents. There are times when you need someone older to talk with/listen to you and you can trust. They were teenagers once, granted it wasn’t in 2018. They probably did some of the dumb stuff you are doing or want to do. There is a reason why they appear to be crazy. They know the consequences of just about everything. If they didn’t experience the consequences they knew someone who did and because they love YOU and want to best for YOU they get a little excited.
10. Don’t forget or exchange your future hopes and dreams for what looks good right now. By the way, what looks really good right now that you know your parents will not like for you to do? Why won’t they like that? Consider that thought!!!!
11.What are you willing to sacrifice for another? Love is measured by sacrifice. That is how we know someone loves us or how we truly love others. We sacrifice ourselves for them. Do you sacrifice for anyone/anything or are you the center of your universe where your concerns are only on your feelings/yourself/your right now?