New (School) Year Resolutions

Happy New School Year!

This year feels much different than last year. With my older son in school full day and the younger in school three days a week we really do feel the rhythm of the school schedule in a way I haven't since I was in high school. We're just getting started and, I have to say, it already feels relentless. 

As we begin this school schedule, pack lunches for the first time, dig for clean clothes, figure out new subway routes, find closed toe shoes, learn new names, forget 4"x6" photographs, I see how the next few month could go and I see room for improvement. We can make it more organized and a little calmer. While we're still feeling fresh and ready, I'm going to introduce (and impose) my ten New (School) Year Resolutions. 

1. Walking meditation on the way to school - I love the idea of my children learning to meditate at home, but these busy little bodies are always moving so we need a gradual approach to a sitting meditation. Walking meditation could be a good step towards sitting meditation. For one city block, probably a couple blocks from school, we will spend a week doing the following:

  • Count steps out loud. 
  • Count steps to ourselves.
  • Tap our thumb and finger together with each step.

2. Family Artwork review - Every few months we’ll review artwork then photograph, archive, frame or discard artwork. I'm not a kid's artwork hoarder, but collecting artwork is something I take seriously. As a child my father and I would make lots of artwork and irregularly but memorably we would take dozens of pieces of artwork, place them on the living room floor and, with alternating votes, narrow down the selection of artwork. We would drop off the two selected pieces at our favorite uptown New Orleans frame shop. It was great seeing my father admire my work and the process heightened my self-respect. It's a tradition worth keeping.

3. Commit to reusables and compostables. I’m really sensitive to the amount of waste we create. I cringe when the big bag of recycling goes out. It feels like too much, so I’m making an effort to decrease the waste. I’m going to only use paper towels (1 roll per month) when there’s an emergency, like poop. We’ll use cloth napkins, glass containers, reusable for wrap and compostable snack bags.

The basics: reusable food wrap, glass food containers, cloth napkins AND wax paper snack/ sandwich bags (not shown).

The basics: reusable food wrap, glass food containers, cloth napkins AND wax paper snack/ sandwich bags (not shown).

4. Compost the compost - I’m pretty good at collecting veggies, fruit peels, egg shells, egg cartons, coffee grounds, for the compost but I need to get back in the habit of walking them over to the NYC compost collection at the weekly market. I’d love to organize a compost collection in our building. 
Imagine these as week old leftover scraps. They'd make such nice new soil...


5. Add closet hooks (at the right hight of the child) for back packs, hats, and jackets. Maybe if we make a clear “staging area” at their young age they’ll be inclined to keep up with it at later ages - yay for no lost keys later on!
6. Learn all class parents' and kids' names asap.
7. Create a family calendar and have weekly meetings with kiddos to review the activities and commitments. 
8. Give new responsibilities - Luc turns out lights and River turns off music and A/C. Every few months they're given new tasks. We've got make bed, clear dishes, put shoes away, and throw dirty clothes in hamper.
9. Ask three daily questions - What was a challenge or disappointment today? What did you learn? What are you thankful for?
10. Breathe and Smile. 

The days are long and the years are short.                                                       - Gretchen Rubin (via Lauren Kesner)

The days are long and the years are short.                                                       - Gretchen Rubin (via Lauren Kesner)