January 12: Resolutions and Resources
It’s been good to have a couple of ‘normal’ days after our various weather days! Overall, the students (and teachers — and admin and staff, too) have returned from the two-week break in good spirits, and Wednesday morning at All School Meeting, led by our 8th grade hosts (this week, Eleanor and Juliette), we reflected on the concept of New Year’s Resolutions: what they are, where they reportedly originated, why they continue to be relevant….
Although many adults are ambivalent about New Year’s resolutions (don’t tell, but for several years at one point in my life, I just kept crossing out and updating the years on the same set of apparently unattainable resolutions), resolutions can be part of a healthy practice of reflection and even renewal. At our All School Meeting, students described their resolutions, including: trying to be nice to siblings, or working to master a new gymnastics or ice-skating move. One teacher mentioned she was challenging herself to say thank you to someone each day.
When it was my time to speak, I offered that it’s great to have resolutions focused on how we treat others (or ourselves), as well as for specific goals we wish to achieve. One wellness goal I have set quietly for myself is to be less “addicted” to my computer and phone. As I am sure is true for many of us, email alone often seems insurmountable; there are always more messages to answer, and more potentially wisdom-filled electronic professional newsletters (sigh) to read! But I am going to be present for my family and my other interests (remember reading printed magazines and books?!), and make substantial screen-free time… Just as soon as I finish typing this article!
I hope I am not alone in this resolution. I don’t think I am. Last year, several dozen parents, students, and faculty-staff watched and talked about the poignant recent documentary Screenagers. The film made clear we need to make proactive choices about ours and our children’s relationships with technology. (We really cannot separate the two, IMO.) Our discussions reminded us that parents setting shared limits or establishing developmentally friendly community norms and values around things like technology can make parenting (and being a kid) easier!
To encourage parents to engage on these tough but important issues, we’re happy to share these resources:
- Burgundy’s Cyber Resources for Families
- Cell Phone Parenting Resources published by Common Sense Media
- A roundup of recent research on children and screen time from NPR
We hope they are useful!