By Cat Urbigkit, Range Writing columnist for Cowboy State Daily
With the ringing-in of a new year, it’s that time when we feel the need to make resolutions, most of which are quickly broken. I know, I know; this time it’s going to be different. Really? I’m of the mind that rather than making new resolutions, we adults need to revisit and relearn some of the vital lessons of childhood.
You know the basics: make your bed when you get up, bathe often, brush your teeth, wear pants if there is company, and don’t bother an adult until that adult has had coffee. Don’t pick up snakes. Don’t throw fits, or rocks, or call people names.
Share and take turns, and no fake crying. Chew with your mouth closed, and introduce yourself first when making a phone call before asking who is on the other end of the line. Don’t ask if we’re there yet. Sit down to eat your dinner. Try not to break anything.
Use your manners: say please and thank you, and take your hat off when you enter a building. Look people in the eye when you’re talking to them. If you make a mess, clean it up. Hold the door open for others.
If it’s none of your business, don’t ask. If it’s not right, don’t do it. If it’s not yours, don’t take it. Keep your hands to yourself. Don’t cheat. Remember that just because someone else is doing it doesn’t make it okay. Don’t talk about poop at the table.
Treat others how you wish to be treated. When you’re wrong, apologize. Forgive each other. Work hard, try new things, ask questions, make mistakes, and learn. No, you can’t beat your brother/sister/person with a stick. Insults don’t win arguments. Try not to hurt others. When you’re mad and frustrated, try not to yell too much. Work on using your inside voice.
Plant a seed and water it. Skip rocks. Play fair. Be kind to animals. Be respectful and honest. Do it if it makes someone happy; don’t do it if it makes someone sad. Get dirty and have fun. Know that meanness is ugly, and kindness is beautiful. Watch the clouds float by. Marvel at stars at night.
Do hard things. Eat dessert first. Respect others. Take naps. Dream big. Treasure friendships. Root for the underdog. Don’t be a bully. Stand up for yourself, and for others. Do your best, and help each other.
Find time to play. Dangle your toes in a pond, creek, lake, or ditch. Sing in the car. Dance when you feel like it. Laugh often. Hug often. Stay awake reading a good book; fall asleep reading a good book. Make a snowman. Believe in yourself. Do good works, even when no one is watching. Be grateful for good things.
May the new year be your best year yet. And try not to bite anyone.
Cat Urbigkit is an author and rancher who lives on the range in Sublette County, Wyoming. Her column, Range Writing, appears weekly in Cowboy State Daily. To request reprint permission or syndication of this column, email firstname.lastname@example.org.