I am making a change this year. I am going to drop the word “parenting” from the title of my column and just call it “Rite of Passage.”
I started this column about the time Little Caesar uttered his first two words: “Pizza, pizza.” Back then, I had two teenagers in the house, and I wrote about those experiences. Over the years, my boys have grown up, married and I am now the proud Poppy of 1 and 7/9th grandsons. So these articles have shifted.
Today, I write as much about being a grandparent as I do about being a parent. I also write a lot about stuff: good stuff, bad stuff, serious stuff and sometimes silly stuff.
Why do I write about stuff? Because to most of us, stuff matters. Maybe this column should be called “Just Stuff,” but instead, I am going to call it “Rite of Passage” because whether you’re a parent or a grandparent, aunt, uncle or cousin, life is one continual transition.
Now that I have that out of the way, I want to talk to you about your New Year’s resolutions. Lots of us made these, and most of us have already broken them. We resolve to lose weight, love more and give more to the … never mind.
A New Year’s resolution is something that usually goes into one year and out the other. If I am going to make one and keep it, I need to learn to make it more practical—something like, “I resolve to finish the tube of ChapStick I bought in 1973.”
You wouldn’t even know it was ChapStick because all the printing on the metal tube has worn off. I don’t think it has an expiration date, but if my memory serves me right, the last time I used it I was sitting in my car listening to “Cherish” by The Association on my eight-track player. Ahhh, those were the days, my friend.
But speaking of ChapStick, I know people who are hooked on that stuff. They rub it on their lips as often as a teenage girl looks at her cell phone. I had another thought about what to do with it, but I’m pretty sure it’s not something you can re-gift.
I think resolutions have fallen into the same category as what used to be known as rededication. This occurred when a person came under conviction that they were not properly walking out the Christian life. They would confess their shortfalls to the congregation, asking for prayer as they reapplied biblical truth to their lives.
As a young boy growing up in rural America, I watched people rededicate their lives every Sunday. Well, not every Sunday. Our preacher wasn’t that good. The rededications usually happened when he preached on subjects like giving the first part of your income to the Lord.
In church life, this is called the tithe. If you didn’t give your tithe to the Lord, he explained, you were taking something that belonged to God. “The Earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it” (Psalm 24:1). During the invitation time, someone would walk down the aisle and confess that they had been stealing from God and wanted to get back in the habit of giving their tithe to the church.
Most resolutions and rededications are just good intentions, but good intentions never go anywhere. You see, changing one’s life takes planning and accountability, which separates wishful thinking from life-changing thinking.
A person who wants to lose weight will have to make plans about how to eat better, exercise more and have an accountability partner to check on their progress. Those plans will include short- and long-term goals.
A plan to give to the Lord what is rightfully His could start by giving two percent of your income. The next month, move it up to three percent, and keep doing that until you reach 10 percent, or the tithe. But you have to start somewhere and do something.
2016 has begun, but you still have time to make a plan, set goals and find some help to reach those goals. And can I make one more suggestion? Only make one resolution and work on that.
Maybe we should stop making resolutions and rededications. Besides, if we drop the “re-,” we’ll have more solutions and dedications.
I almost forgot: does anyone out there know if ChapStick can go bad?