As the New Year Begins…

Posted on January 5, 2016 by Amanda Witman

Close your eyes and take a deep, slow breath in. Now gently exhale.
Take a moment to reflect on how far you’ve come on this journey.

Photo credit: Brenda Massei (Oak Meadow Archives)
Photo credit: Brenda Massei
(Oak Meadow Archives)

Think about this past year. What growth opportunities did the year offer up, for yourself or your child? What have you or your child learned to do that stumped you or seemed impossible just one year ago? Did anything happen that you could not possibly have predicted?
Last year at this time, what were your biggest parenting concerns? Were you grappling with decisions about how best to support your child’s needs? Was your confidence about your educational path strong, or was it faltering? Were you puzzling out the logistics of the components your life and experimenting with the best fit for yourself and your child? Or were things falling easily into place?
Photo credit: Charlie Siegel (Oak Meadow Archives)
Photo credit: Charlie Siegel
(Oak Meadow Archives)

What twists and turns has your family’s path taken over the past year? What discoveries have you made?
What things were going smoothly at the start of last year? Have they continued to go well? Were you at a point where your hard work seemed to be making a difference, or were you just beginning a new leg of the journey? Were there challenges ahead that you had not yet encountered?
Now think about how those same things are going now as you begin the new year. What challenges do you anticipate in the months ahead?
What do you wish you had known a year ago? If you could go back in time and talk with the person you were then, what would you tell them about what lies ahead? Would you offer reassurance? Would you be able to give them some insights to save time and energy and heartache by making a different choice?
Photo credit: Vanessa Rappolt (Oak Meadow Archives)
Photo credit: Vanessa Rappolt
(Oak Meadow Archives)

What did you learn about yourself this past year? Did you find that you are more courageous and capable than you realized? Did you become aware of weaknesses in a way that opened up possibilities for new and perhaps better ways of managing things? What challenges have you been able to turn into growth opportunities?
What did you learn about your child? Were you surprised, delighted, frustrated by anything you discovered over the course of the year? Did you become aware of weaknesses that need to be addressed or strengths that can be celebrated? Who is this older child that he or she is becoming? In what ways do you think your child might grow between now and the end of the next year?
What are your hopes and wishes for the year ahead? What are your fears? If you could talk with the person you will be in one year, what do you hope he or she might say to reassure you?
Now take another deep breath in. Exhale gently.
Photo credit: Adam Hall (Oak Meadow Archives)
Photo credit: Adam Hall
(Oak Meadow Archives)

Tell yourself what a good job you’ve done over this past year. The year was not perfect, but no year is. Affirm the ways in which you honored your child and yourself through some of the choices you made. Acknowledge the challenges you faced with courage, the things you weren’t expecting that showed up anyway, the personal marathons you bravely ran without knowing for sure where they would end. Give yourself credit for excellent effort, a job well done, and a life well lived.
You have made another year’s worth of progress on your journey. Celebrate the satisfaction of that accomplishment!
Now take one more deep breath…
…and face the new year’s journey.

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