Yes, it’s that time of the year again, where we first wonder where the heck the year went, realize we did not accomplish even a fraction of what we intended for the year, feel regret for the year gone by, and resolutely resolve to do things better for the next year. And from past experience, I know that a long list of resolutions is bound to fail very soon. On that note, I am keeping this list quite short – here are my resolutions for 2014:
- I will listen, no, really ‘listen’ to my kids: Yes, I know that we are all advised to listen to our kids, hear what they have to say, and ask them to express their feelings etc etc. But as a parent, we are so conditioned to giving advice, telling the kids what to do, how to do and even where to do, that we forget that communication should not be a mainly one-way street, as it unfortunately tends to get to be with kids. And when your kid is spectacularly uncommunicative, as mine is, very often I am doing more talking than necessary, just to fill in the silence. So this year, my resolution will be to take a step back, and wait for my kid to tell me what he thinks is necessary, not to probe and put his back up; and to realize that communication does not have to be only through words. In fact, sometimes it is in the silence that I hear my child say something to me – the tinny music from my children’s earphones telling me about the songs they love, the way my son lifts his face to the trees telling me how much he loves nature.
- I will communicate about the bigger things in life. Most often, our conversations with the kids are about studying well, getting good marks, etc. We rarely talk to our kids about our values, where we stand on certain topics like drugs, alcohol, dating etc. Not just where we stand, but why we think the way we do on these topics, and why our values may be different from what their friends and the media are telling them (I think this is especially important when they are hearing very contradictory things about the above topics from the world outside. So it may be that my voice is the only one telling my children what I feel, but I hope that my voice will sound loud and clear above the siren call of the world). We also do not have talks with our kids on what they want – not in terms of career, but in what their dreams, hopes and aspirations are. So this year I will ask and understand what my children’s dreams are, and I in turn will tell them what I dream for them, so that we can work together to make those dreams come true.