How Can We Make This Year Better?

I love a good fresh start. 

I’m a sucker for Mondays. I dutifully write New Year resolutions every year. There’s nothing like breaking in a brand-new notebook. And Spring cleaning? That is my jam.

If you’re anything like me, you are charmed by the magic of new beginnings too. And after the year we’ve all had, we could use some hope, good news, and a bit of normalcy—especially when it comes to our family’s rhythm and the kids’ upcoming school year.

But even though we may feel ready for a change of pace, that doesn’t mean we aren’t without all of the normal feelings associated with the start of a new school year—the anxiety, the worry, and the sense that nothing is quite within our control are all still there. Maybe even more so. We have absolutely no idea what to expect, and that makes us nervous because if there’s anything the last year taught us, it’s that we must expect the unexpected to happen. And if we think we’re anxious, just think about how the kids are feeling. Happy? Sure. But uncertain too.

But friend, before we spiral into all of the “what ifs,” let’s think about what is within our control for the upcoming year:

We can start by being hopeful. We have no idea what this year will look like. But guess what? You’re here right now reading this blog post so that means up to this point, you have survived your worst days. Your kids too. If that doesn’t add a little razzle dazzle to your mood, I don’t know what will.

We can focus on all the things that can go right this year. We can all make a list of the things that can go wrong in a school year. There’s bullying. There’s peer pressure. There’s academic pressure. There are all the things. It’s easy to think of ways the year will go wrong. I’m asking you to do the more difficult thing and to start thinking constantly about all the things that can be really great about the school year. Make a list of all of your hopes for the new year and put it somewhere the whole family can see.

We can establish brand-spankin’-new rhythms. We often fall into the habit of doing what we’ve always done. But maybe this season requires something different of us. This year, we might need to establish new routines instead of fitting into our old ones. We’re different now. So maybe the rhythm of our family needs to be different too.

We can expect to fall apart at least once. Meltdowns may be on the horizon . . . for you, not your kids. Why? Because even though this year may be better than the last, it will still be hard. There will still be challenges, heartache, misunderstandings, and confusion. And sometimes, those situations warrant some emotional releases. And that’s okay—if we expect a breakdown of some kind, then maybe we won’t beat ourselves up about it when it happens. 

We may not know what lies ahead of us this school year, but we do know last year made us stronger, more capable versions of our former selves. After a year like 2020, we’d be hard-pressed to find something we cannot tackle in 2021. 


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