Monday, January 3, 2011

When kids make resolutions ...

They do, you know. Kids make resolutions all the time, but they don't wait for New Years' Day to do it. Listen to children talk sometime and notice the way their resolutions evolve as they learn and discover more about life ...

I'm gonna be an astronaut when I grow up.
I'm gonna learn to fly a shuttle when I get bigger.
I'm gonna borrow library books about shuttles and astronauts!

I want to be a teacher!
I'm going to fix a desk and get my books so I can teach school.
Look, Mommy! My stuffed animals are at school. Now I'm a teacher!

The wonderful thing about children is that they don't wait until a certain time of life to resolve something ... they do it immediately, if possible, or at least give it a go before they lose interest. Their youthful energy and determination is helpful in developing new ideas and skills.

Even in the hypothetical cases above, if those children don't stick with their ambitions to be an astronaut and teacher, they still have achieved great things and are wiser than before they decided to reach for their dreams. Any new information taken in, any reading, practicing or play-acting they do has given them confidence to try other new things.

Too much of the time, we grown-ups lack the ambition, courage and/or gusto to tackle new things. We put off making any attempt and end up losing our resolve along the way! I don't know about you, but I still have pending projects and some downright rusty resolutions lying around somewhere.

There is nothing wrong with resolving or making resolutions to do better or improve or reach for a goal. If writing it down or sharing it with others helps us be accountable, that's a good thing. I admire people who stick to their goals and manage to accomplish a long-held dream.

Sometimes, however, I wonder if resolutions should be made with this in mind: The greatest accomplishment may not be in finishing everything we resolve to do but in at least attempting to do it. How else can we figure out if we like something or have the ability to accomplish it until we give it a whirl?

In the past, I've made a sort of "resolution' to learn to crochet. Oh, I did learn enough to make a few simple items, but there was no "Aha!" moment making afghan squares. I've learned to sew and have made clothing, lap quilts and more ... but sewing isn't my gift nor my passion. I've even tackled a few art projects (sketching, painting) but that's definitely not my cup of tea.

BUT I learned something each time I piddled and pretended -- just like a child pretending to be an astronaut learns a lot more about space shuttles and the people who fly them. If we never try something, we'll never know if we like it or not and whether it fits who God made us to be.

We learn something when we attempt new skills, and we discover some things we *don't * want to major on. This can free us up to be who we were really meant to be, not what others expect us to be.

After many years of dabbling in various projects, I've come to realize (and rest in the fact) that I love words -- studying them, writing them down in journals, connecting them to write articles and poetry. That's what I have a passion for, and I believe it's what God meant for me to do all along!

I'm just Nan ...
... an over-grown kid who still dreams a lot of dreams and tries lot of things to make sure she hasn't missed anything important. I suppose if I did make a resolution this year, it would be simple but yet profound: "I just wanna be the best me He made me to be."

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