Do you make New Year’s resolutions? Do your kids?

Typically, I consider what I want to do differently in the New Year. For me, these intentions often revolve around self-improvement, like healthy eating and getting fit.

Family goals like getting my boys use to a chore chart. Yes, I’m dreaming…

Statistically speaking, most people do not keep their New Year’s resolutions; however, I still find that making goals can be a very positive activity. It’s not all bad to encourage kids to think ahead a little bit.

While I might have plenty of examples of resolutions for my boys, I’d rather they envision their own. To get started, I’m keeping it simple and asking them these questions:

  1. What can you do to help yourself?
  2. What can you do to help others?
  3. Is there some new place you’d like to go? A new activity to try? Skill to learn?

For my six-year-old, the concept of a New Year’s resolution is a little confusing. After we talked about it, he decided that he wanted to be more helpful. “Older kids help me sometimes. I want to be able to help people. I can do a lot more now than I could when I was three! Like tie my shoes and make EasyMac.”

My eight-year-old thinks that a good way to help people would be to bake cookies for others. “That’s pretty nice, isn’t it?” He also wants to be a better snowboarder. For something new, he wants to raise goats and rabbits for a 4-H project, and visit my brother in North Carolina.

Cookies and travel… this sounds fun! Rabbits and goats? That’s an entirely different adventure, but we can do this – it’s been on his brain since July.

I hope I like rabbits and goats.

The thirteen-year-old was a little more serious about his resolutions. He wants to start training early for track season where he expects to run the mile. In considering others, he will strive to be more patient with his little brothers. He wants to remember to read devotions more regularly. My fifteen-year-old was also thoughtful in recognizing his need to stay focused and be better organized, while setting new academic goals.

Whoa. Deep thoughts for teenagers. Pinch me.

It’s fun to have these conversations. I’ve jotted down these thoughts so they can revisit them later.

As for my own list, I think I’ll take a little advice from each of my kids. Bake cookies. Train for a 5K. {So I can eat the cookies!} Read the One Year Bible. Stay focused.

And my favorite – inspired by my Kindergartener…keep watching for opportunities to help others. Let’s make it a great New Year!

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Diane Karr

Diane Karr lives on a family farm in south central Nebraska with her husband and four sons. Besides chasing after her busy boys and the farm, she volunteers as a church organist. Diane graduated from UNL in 1996 as an agribusiness major, shares stories about farm life at, and is a volunteer for CommonGround Nebraska. She also enjoys Husker football, hazelnut lattes, cooking and baking, boating, photography, and spending time with family and friends.