When I was a kid growing up in a small mountain town in Colorado, I had categorically different chores than my own city-born offspring — their only consistent bar for chores (at home, at least) seems to be literally picking up a towel from the floor to hang on a bar. Unevenly.
This month’s Out + About feature, Making Fresh Tracks: A First-timers’ Guide to Family Snowshoeing, puts me sentimentally in mind of one of my more rewarding childhood chores: trundling out on many a sub-zero, white-out winter morning on snowshoes to feed my family’s small herd of sweet-tempered horses. Whatever aggrieved feelings I harbored at the outset of those nostril-seizing, tootsie-freezing outings dispersed as quickly as each mini cloud of frozen breath. The palpable happiness of those abiding beasts — communicated with welcoming head bobs and gentle nickering (one of the most soothing sounds I know of) — at seeing me make my awkward, snail-slow approach is perfectly etched in my memory. For me, those frosty mornings were an early lesson in accountability and the empathy-cultivating rewards of caring for dependent creatures.
To paraphrase the inspirational motto of my favorite philosopher of love, Linus — that security-seeking sage of the Peanuts gang: Tomorrow, [we] start with a clean blanket.
The dawn of a new year (and decade!) inspires a tendency to telescope backward and forward in time: We reflect on the path behind us in order to project our intentions forward on the unbroken ground of the future we envision for ourselves, our families, our communities, our world. Where in our lives do we need to make fresh tracks? This intentional and pensive process of course-setting anchors the theme of our January feature, 20/20 Hindsight Vision for 2020 — committing to those productive habits we wish we had started a decade ago that will put us “on track” to achieve our personal, financial and professional goals.
To paraphrase the inspirational motto of my favorite philosopher of love, Linus — that security-seeking sage of the Peanuts gang: Tomorrow, [we] start with a clean blanket. From perfectly practical to aspirationally ambitious, the New Year’s goal we set for ourselves mobilizes a transformative purpose, and research shows that simply making a resolution increases our chances of reaching that goal by tenfold.
We hope this month’s issue of ParentMap will inspire you to commit to those practices, values and activities that will guide your family on healthier, happier and more connected tracks in 2020. Happy New Year!