Happy New Year, all! Wow...2016 is here already. The years just seem to slip on by, no matter what I do to slow things down. And with a sophomore on the verge of taking flight, it makes me a little sad. Scratch that. A LOT sad.
Joni Mitchell says it best in the song, "Carousel of Time."
"And the seasons, they go round and round, and the painted ponies go up and down. We're captives on the carousel of time."
Captives. Prisoners. Victims of time's great march. In 2016, it's my plan to challenge that theory and retain some influence over my carousel.
2015 gave us some of the best, new research on our culture of over-scheduling, over-stressing and overwhelming our teens. (Not to mention ourselves.) Doctors stood up and said, "Enough of the madness, parents!" Educators posed the questions, "How much of your child's well-being are you willing to sacrifice? How much of your relationship?" We learned about the rise in depression and anxiety disorders among our young and emerging adults. Stress, high blood pressure, heart disease and cancer were more closely tied with lifestyle than ever before. And lifestyle is a CHOICE, is it not?
So can we make different choices?
Did you know that colleges all over the nation are reevaluating their admission standards and high school counselors are rethinking student education tracks? That means that brave parents everywhere are getting creative, challenging the means and methods by which to help their kids be, not just competitive, but successful. After all, those two things can look very different.
Can I let you in on a little secret? This is where we get to reclaim control, friends.
My #oneword for 2016 is EQUILIBRIUM. Defined, it means "a state in which opposing forces or influences are balanced." And let's be honest, we hear how important balance is but people talk about it like once you achieve it, you're in the clear. Not so easy with all the moving parts of life. But I can make the choice to look at the "opposing forces" in every day and actively "balance" them out. And more importantly, I can teach my kids how to do that.
So as my daughter plans her final two years of high school and my sons look forward to their own plans, I'm going to do my damnedest to positively influence what we focus our time and energy on. Not just the school and the work and the responsible stuff, but the fun and the downtime and the spirit-fueling stuff.
Yes, AP and honors classes can be important as you're planning for college, but it's my responsibility to weigh the cost. And it's true that activities and sports can contribute to well-roundedness and physical/mental health, but it's my job to take a holistic approach to family scheduling, to consider our weekly time bank and leave enough for a buffer. In the end, the values I hold high, they will too, and I want my family to seek out, recognize and always strive for equilibrium.
So as you enter the new year, list of resolutions aside, I hope you find your #oneword. And more importantly, I hope that it acts as a constant beacon that guides you through the ups and downs of your carousel ride.
Happy New Year, friends!