My New Year’s Resolutions

Lots of organizations have a document titled “RESOLUTIONS.” These are variously described as belief statements for the organization, principles on which the organization is founded, and/or ideals on which decision-making and priorities are based. Merriam Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary includes this definition: “a formal expression of opinion, will, or intent voted by an official body or assembled group.”

At this time of year, we often use the term to mean a pledge or firm decision, often written or stated publicly: “I resolve to get more sleep.”  “In the new year, I plan to get to the gym at least three times a week.”  “I gotta cut back on my coffee intake this year.”

It is generally understood that these kinds of statements are meant to be broken. One makes these declarations, with steadfast resolve and all the good intentions that one can muster, knowing full-well that by Valentine’s Day, no one really expects them to be fulfilled to the letter, if at all. By March, nobody is talking about New Year’s Resolutions. As Martha Stewart would say, “This is a good thing.” No one needs to be reminded of failed promises, even those you made to yourself.

I do not usually participate in this kind of thing, but this year is different. So, here goes— in no particular order, here are my New Year’s resolutions so far for 2011. Please take note that I have left each one open for additions!

(1) Pay more attention to: education reform initiatives; what is said (and what is not said); V2015; political opportunities—public education is all about politics;    

(2) Watch out for: false prophets (and false profits); statistics and DATA; the never-ending stream of News Journal editorials about teachers, teaching, schools, TFA, testing, and more–usually negative and potnetially demoralizing for educators; procrastination—one of my major shortcomings;   

(3) Lighten up on: myself; anxiety and self-doubt; dealings with the most challenging students—it does not help things if I actually escalate a situation that I want to defuse;

(4) Be sure to: smile; laugh; write thank you notes; stand up for what I know is right and good and true; spend more time with children; read more books; call my sister, Anne, more frequently;   

(5) Know that I can count on: Nick, Andrew, and Chucko; our union brothers and sisters across the state; Union Girls—I love you!; RCEA Executive Board and Rep Council; our ESP members; my breakfast buddies; my GNO friends; my Blogmeister; my mentor, campaign treasurer and chief bursar–Patt; my campaign partner, Mike Hoffmann; my mechanic, Steve; 

(6) Keep up the good work: I have lost 26 pounds since September 1st. I attend Weight Watchers meetings every Wednesday. This self-improvement means the world to me, and has been inspired by my friends’ (Mike Matthews and Christine Valente) successes. Woo-hoo!  

As I have grown older, I find that I have changed in three ways that surely seem important to me. [I was born in 1950, so I have had more than enough time to make a few adjustments!]

First, I am far less likely to be moved to real anger—irritation, impatience, and resentment, yes; but not much rage. I think now that I used to get mad a lot—too much anger, too often, and for too little cause. As an aside: I am not known to hold a grudge—when it’s done, it’s over.   

Second, I do not take offense like I might have at one time. I try to look at things this way: It’s often not personal—“It’s just business,” as Don Corleone would say. TCOB. But, this cuts both ways—so be forewarned! 

Finally, I try to moderate impulsiveness and quickness to respond—I try to step back, slow things down, let some time pass, and then, if I still feel that action must be taken, I can react in a more thoughtful, considered manner.

I am sure that my family, friends, and colleagues can think of lots of examples of how the above observations may not always be so true. Hush! Let me be deluded for just a little while longer.

One more thing: Mike Hoffmann and I are resolved to do our best to win the election as DSEA President and Vice President. We would not pursue this goal if we did not think that we were fully qualified to serve in these important capacities and capable of succeeding in this endeavor.  Thank you to everyone for the tremendous support and trust that has been demonstrated across the state.  


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