A Resolute New Year
The beginning of the New Year is traditionally the time for looking ahead, reflecting on the past year and perhaps the over indulgence of Christmas, and for making New Year’s Resolutions. Typically, in schools, we start the New Year by talking to the children about what resolutions are. I am always reminded at this time of year of the child who struggled to say ‘resolutions’ and instead referred to New Year Revolutions! In fact, some might say that this was a far more accurate word than resolutions.
Looking at the top five resolutions that people make, they are all concerned with self-improvement of the physical self: losing weight, exercising more, eating more healthily, drinking less alcohol and taking a more proactive approach to our own health. For those of us who seem to make similar resolutions each January, and have done so for many years, it certainly seems to be a revolution! According to recent surveys, only eight percent of people who make New Year’s Resolutions actually keep them! It’s good to know that you may be in good company with 92 percent of the general population.
It is interesting to note that almost all the top 10 New Year’s Resolutions are about self-improvement. That’s not to dismiss the importance of being healthier and taking care of oneself, but in this self-obsessed age where the ‘selfie’ rules supreme, with 1,000 being uploaded to Instagram every 10 seconds, perhaps we could make one of our top five resolutions about having a positive impact on others rather than ourselves? In assemblies this month, we have been talking about New Year’s Resolutions and linking these in with our revised “Children’s Charter”. The children, with help and support from their teachers, extended the Charter, which gives guidance on how to be:
We have been encouraging the children to think about one action or change in their behaviour that they could make in each area of the Children’s Charter that would benefit our school community. I am always touched when our pupils nominate other pupils to receive a Children’s Charter award in assembly for an act of kindness or for being a good friend.
This year, our new category of being a ‘Good Individual’ has been introduced with the children, to encourage them to reflect on their own well-being and understand the impact our own behaviour can have on others. These were the final agreed suggestions that the children came up with under the category of being a Good Individual:
Good Individuals are:
Kind and Self-aware
– we treat ourselves with kindness and understanding and have realistic expectations of ourselves
Healthy and Active
– we take care of ourselves by getting enough sleep, exercise and eating healthily
Confident and Self-advocating
– we speak up for ourselves and have a say in what happens in our school
Accepting and Mutually-respectful
-we accept our feelings and those of others. We are able to say sorry, forgive and move on
It is quite humbling how simple, yet how effective, the children’s suggestions are. There were many more examples given, but it really shows how the children have taken our school values to heart in the Children’s Charter. Just think how much happier and productive our communities would be if we all followed the examples given by these children!
My challenge to you (and to myself) is to make room for one more New Year’s Resolution. Could you adopt one of the Hallfield children’s suggestion in our new Children’s Charter as one of your resolutions? And can you keep it for a whole year?