By Kendall Vogts
Every New Year’s Eve, I start the evening with the plan of making and carrying out a resolution for the new year. My resolutions have been things such as: losing weight and getting more active, reading my Bible more and getting closer to The Lord, and being a better friend by making a conscious effort to be more communicative.
Now, we all know that when making a resolution, we are committing to do or not do something for an entire year. However, when looking at the definitions of the word resolution (as an English teacher, I do that sort of thing, often), I found another definition: “The action of solving a problem.”
For me, resolving to do or stop doing something for a year has never worked out. I either forget or become noncommittal. However, this year, I think that working to solve a problem is very realistic for me, as everyday, I see problems walk in and out of my classroom.
No, I am not referring to my students as problems, but the slumps of their shoulders, their down faces, their curse words, and rude gestures are the results of the problems they face. I know what you’re thinking, “There is no way this lady can solve every problem for each of her, 125 students.”
And I agree. You are right. But I can work to change how I act toward them to bring peace and hope to situations that, for them, might seem like or actually be problems.
This morning, as I was driving to work, I knew there were going to be tough events that would and had to take place. I had to respond to emails where people were not necessarily in agreeance with me. I had to explain a recent decision I made. I had to talk to a young lady about the consequences of her actions. And all of this because two of my students had not made good decisions while at school.
As I was playing out the scenarios in my head, before I even arrived at school, I knew I had to stop right in my tracks. The nerves had woken me up, kept me awake, and were giving me anxiety during my drive. I knew this was a far bigger ordeal than I could handle on my own.
I prayed for the right words, that my actions would not be my own, that I would speak (and email) words of grace to the people that I had contact with throughout the day.
I have been shown so much grace before, during, and after the things in my life that have seemed like and have actually been problems. And I have felt a peace and hope be restored.
So, that is my resolution, or my vow to work towards ending problems; to stop, take a moment before I speak, respond, or act, and attempt to see their troubles the way that they do and try to show as much grace as possible to the people and the problem at hand.
In this season of joy, family, togetherness, and the hope of positive, future change, I hope that you can come up with a resolution that you can commit to for the year of 2016. Maybe you will vow to help end some problem that you see in your life, or the lives of those close to you. If resolutions aren’t for you, I hope that 2016 treats you well and that you experience so much peace and happiness.
Kendall Vogts lives and teaches in Central Kansas. She is married to WFM publisher Todd Vogts.