Looking to the new year

Ever have a child ask you a question — particularly about, let’s call it “current events” — and in trying to form your answer realize some of your own thinking doesn’t make sense?

We teach kids all kinds of things we would like to see in adults: Treat others as you would want to be treated; act out of love, not out of hate; don’t be prideful or stubborn; don’t expect others to do everything for you; take care of your responsibilities; tell the truth; be kind — take care of those who need help; understand there are consequences for bad behavior; think before you speak or act; be open-minded; life is not fair … but do your best to behave fairly … the list goes on.

And then, when they call us out on it — when they spot something going on in the world that doesn’t line up with all that teaching — how do we respond? I’ve seen plenty of linguistic contortion. I’ve been guilty of it myself.

Sometimes, that’s the moment kids realize adults can’t be trusted. We’re full of it. We operate in a do-as-we-say-not-as-we-do world, and that’s just not going to fly. Unfortunately, sometimes that is the moment, then, that they choose to abandon all the ideals and move through the world just as the generations before them have done. It’s a shame.

I’m talking to myself here as much as to anyone else. I have a terrible time admitting I’m wrong — and I work in a business where there is so much new information available to me every day I MUST be willing to change my mind or behavior sometimes. The honest thing to do once in a while is to say “I don’t know,” “I’m wrong,” “I’ve been mistaken,” or, “Well, here’s how things have been done, but there could be a better way …”

Yeah. I’m no good at it, either.

But we’ve got to try.

Oh, and by the way, if you’re reading this, shaking your head and thinking I’m talking about someone else — the “other side” perhaps … sorry. I’m talking about you, too. I’m talking about me; I’m talking about everyone. We’ve ALL got to do better at this.

Tuesday is the start of a new year. Plenty of us will be hitting the reset button on everything from our diet to our spending habits. Let’s add this to the list. Let’s resolve to think and behave more in the way we tell our kids they should.

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Speaking of those resolutions, one other note: If you are a gym rat dreading the influx of new people working out, trying to turn around their health/weight, keep it to yourself. Don’t judge someone who is using Jan. 1 as a jumping off point to do something better for themselves. Some of them might not make it past a few weeks. So what? What problem is that for you?

I get it. The crowds make it harder for you to continue your workout routine as you normally would. Be glad there are more people hoping to do what you have already been doing for yourself. Encourage them, don’t scare them away.

Less eye-rolling and social media complaining, more showing someone else the ropes, please. Your kindness and understanding might make the difference for someone who really needs it.

Christina Myer is executive editor of The Parkersburg News and Sentinel. She can be reached via e-mail at cmyer@newsandsentinel.com

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