By Patti Hermes – Parent to Parent – It’s A brand new year!

Let’s get off to a great start! It’s time to start a new year all over again!

Okay, enough of the shouting and phony enthusiasm. Yes, another year is past and now we get to start a new one with a new outlook, and a whole playbook full of resolutions. But think about it , do you really want to change all that much? Do you really have to throw away the old you just because of a date on the calendar?

Our culture is filled with opportunities for a new beginning. Certain times of the year are more  inviting to new challenges than others, such as the beginning of each new school year and the beginning of summer vacation for our children. I start a new garden each spring, filled with hope and promise, and plenty of surprises along the way. But the start of the calendar year is the most hyped of all.

After the last few months of holiday mania, the last thing my family needs is more hype. January is cold, sometimes snowy, often gray and cloudy. Everything seems to move more slowly, and use up more energy in the deepest cold of winter. When the sun shines around here, it is usually best observed from inside while warming up with a cup of hot chocolate.

January is a good time to take things slowly. I used to take a vacation the first of January. Not to head south for warm sunny beaches, although that’s not a bad idea if you can swing it, but to someplace quiet, nearly deserted and silently covered in a blanket of snow. Just escape from the everyday, turn off all the electronic noise (including the computer!) and relax, reflect, read a little, play some cards, go for walks if you can stand the cold, and nap. Literally, just chill.

Even when we can’t get away, in January I refrain from making any big plans, or organizing any events. I don’t start any big projects, just a lot of reading and “hanging out”. I even try to keep our homeschool activities low-key, if possible. And for the rest of you that have to deal with homework on a regular basis, try putting the teachers on notice: No dioramas in January! And can’t you wait until February to start the next science fair project?

Our children can learn a lesson from us, to go with the flow of the seasons. After a manic year-end whirlwind of finals and parties and holiday gatherings, it’s time to rest and recover your energy for the year ahead. Go ahead and make some New Year’s Resolutions if you must, but take your time in effecting any big changes. It’s okay to hibernate, go dormant for the coldest part of winter, and emerge vibrant and energetic in spring.

January is just one month, just the beginning of a whole new year. Make the most of it, so you can make the best of it.

 

Patti Hermes

Patti Hermes is living the dream with her high school sweetheart, raising their boys in the Midwest because it's a good starting point for epic road trips. While writing, reading and homeschooling take up most of her time, she still blogs at http://writesforchocolate.blogspot.com.

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