Brought to you by NWRM Casa:

A non-profit serving Grand, Routt, and Moffat counties, CASA endeavors to come alongside kids as well as parents through a variety of outreach, educational and family activities. It’s said to raise a family takes a village; CASA is here to support our village so that local families can thrive. Join us each month in our Parents Pause as we navigate this ride together!

“Wheresoever you go” in the new year of 2018 is all up to you since it’s wrought with new possibilities and ripe for the taking! As we’ve just closed the chapter on 2017 and freshly begun anew, many decisions, hopes, plans and resolutions have yet to be made. This is the time where most of us resolve to make better financial decisions, find a new job, go on more adventures, and finally, finally, loose those 10 lbs from last years resolution. (Hey, I only have 15 more pounds to go and I’m there!)

But, so what does a resolution really mean? It has to be more than frantically telling your spouse “this year we need to eat healthier”; as you plow through the last of the Christmas cookies and chug down your 3rd coffee of the day. According to the New Oxford Dictionary a resolution is “a firm decision to do or not do something” and “the quality of being determined, admirably purposeful, and unwavering.” Well, I guess my ten minute workout, every 2nd Tuesday of the month, only when it lands on even numbers, *might* not act as a legitimate new years resolution?

While resolving to be healthier, better with finances, and pursue a more exciting lifestyle are not inherently bad things, I find that I personally struggle to stick to any of them because out of all these most popular new years resolutions, and I’ve made them all over the years, very few of them are deep rooted enough to matter. As I’ve reflected on the whole of 2017 and considered how I want 2018 to take shape, what matters enough to garner my resolve? For me, the answer has been a resounding need to spend more intentionally engaged time with my family.

Last month we talked about how remembering to pause and spend even 10 minutes a day in child-directed activity is crucial to their development. Now I’m challenging us all to take it a step further: as we consistently interact with our family, lets be wholeheartedly present. Let’s go all in. May we, gasp, put down the phones, turn off the TV’s, and make sure that during those times especially our kids know they matter. While carving out consistent daily time for child-directed activity is imperative, the Child Development Institute released a number of studies citing that the key factor in all of it was, “the concept of mattering. According to the study, mattering is composed of three factors- awareness, importance, and reliance.”

Although our youngest is a still oh so little and new baby girl, I’m pretty sure her new years resolution is to help me with mine. Even at her tender age, she is very in tune to our attention. Anytime mommy is feeding her or daddy is rocking her and dares to whip out their phone, she baulks. And I don’t mean an adorable little pout or something extraordinarily cute to recapture our undivided attention. I mean she quite literally takes matters into her own hands by swatting at, grabbing with freak-of-nature strength and or chucking the phone. We chalked it up to coincidence and baby exploration at first but months and months in addition to not one but three shattered phones later, there’s no denying little girl knows what she’s doing, and instantly calms and coos when the parental focus is back on her cuddles. Now, sometimes, we really do need to multitask, lest we have to forgo the snuggles altogether and answer our boss’ email instead. Other times, we really do need to scroll through Facebook and read the latest political tweets, lest we loose our minds. Yet still other times, dare I say most times, that can all wait.

This year I am firmly decided, unwavering, and determined to set the phone aside for a bit and instead be fully aware of my son’s excitement as he navigates me through every, last, detail of Star Wars, the Last Jedi. To turn off the TV, because my daughter and her tea party are more important than the 5 min highlight real. To make certain my littles can rely on my whole heart to connect with theirs. Resolve with me this year to “go with all your heart”.

C K Willow

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