I collect words like other people collect buttons or baseball cards and “resolution”, as in New Year’s resolution, is one of the best in my collection. It is derived from the Latin root “resolvere” which means to again loosen up, dissolve, or melt away. That is what we do each New Year. We try, by making a New Year’s resolution, to once again make our problems melt away!
Resolve can be used as a noun or a verb and has as many as 17 different meanings depending upon the context in which it is used! Each year at this time we resolve (analyze) our lives looking for some change we can make that will make us better people. We resolve (solve again) the problems which confront us. We resolve (reach a decision) to concentrate on our resolve (fixed intention or settled purpose) to make changes which we hope will resolve (transform) our life. If we stick to that resolve (fixed intention or settled purpose) with resolve (determination) then maybe … just maybe we can make some real changes in our lives.
Although emphasis upon change and improvement is increased at the beginning of the year, productive and emotionally healthy people make it an ongoing process not limited to New Year’s Eve. A worthwhile resolution for this New Year would be to teach our children how to resolve (bring to a conclusion) their own problems. As a child, when I was faced with a tough problem, my mother would sit back, fold her arms and firmly remind me that, “every tub must sit on its own bottom!” At the time, I didn’t think much of her advice! I didn’t realize that by stepping back and insisting that I solve my own problems she was helping me to accept that I, and only I was responsible for my life. As much as we would like to…we can’t solve problems for our children. If we attempt to do so, in the long run, we only make life more difficult for them. Although I didn’t appreciate her then, I have since been thankful that I had such a wise mother.
Although as a parent you can’t resolve (determine or decide) life for your children, you can help them learn how to resolve (break up into separate parts and analyze) their problems so that they can resolve (make clear and understand) the best course of action to take. When your children come to you with complaints about life’s (or their friends’) unfairness, remain calm…don’t be overcome with sympathy! Help them to retell what happened. What actions did they take? What actions did others take? How did their actions affect others? How could they have changed their own behavior? How would that have affected the situation? What are possible courses of action to prevent or deal with another occurrence? What course will they choose? What do they think will be the outcome?
That’s the easy part…now you must insist that they implement their solution with resolve (firm determination). The first try might not resolve (melt away) the problem, they might have to try again and again. As they become adults, the ability to resolve (analyze and bring to a conclusion) their problems with resolve (determination) will take them further in life than all the help, assistance, relief, succor, support, aid, consolation, or solace, you can give them. Happy New Year!