Three Good Choices

Ringing in the New Year with a hot vanilla sounds nice, doesn't it?

Ringing in the New Year with a hot vanilla sounds nice, doesn’t it? 

Tis the season for big, life-changing goals.

Some of you will set those goals, work on them every single day, and achieve them.  I applaud your efforts.  A goal achieved, no matter the size, is a very good thing.  It sparks confidence.  It reminds you that you can do it.  It boosts your self-esteem.  Yes, a goal achieved is life changing…

But many of you will get caught up in the busy.  You have the best intentions, believe me, I know, but parenting/working/relationship building/friendship building all require a lot of energy.  And let’s face it, dark chocolate covered caramels with sea salt sprinkled on top are really good.  Much better than plain Greek yogurt and sugar snap peas.  And diet overhauls tend to lose steam over time because deprivation of your very favorites absolutely never ever works.

It’s all about moderation, my friends.  A little bit of this and a little bit of that makes the world a happy place.  Meet me in the middle, won’t you?

Here’s the thing:  We’ve all learned some hard lessons in the past few weeks.  I won’t revisit it.  I’ve said enough.  But I will say this: Our world lacks kindness at times.  There is a level of entitlement in this country that causes people to think that their rights are the single most important thing.  They have a right to this, they have a right to that.

Me, me, me….

As parents, what we need to do is focus our energy on raising a generation of people who care about one another.  We need to praise kindness and take a stand on bullying.  We need to pay close attention to our children so that we can troubleshoot along the way…no childhood is free from obstacle, after all.  And we need to stop the singular focus on the rights of the individual.

Divided we fall…and we are falling.  Hard.

Here’s where you come in.

Instead of talking to our kids about personal resolutions and things like reading more (isn’t that always a goal?), riding that bike, or conquering some fear that will really only be conquered when the time is right, will you please join me in focusing on one of the three good choices listed below?


Acceptance of others


Mutual respect

We need the little acts of kindness to shine through.  We need to use our manners, hold open the door, and help a friend when she falls.  We need to give compliments often and bite our tongues when our words aren’t necessary.

We need to celebrate our differences and learn from one another.  We need to sidestep that fear of different or the need to be the best and find the good in every individual.

And we need to respect one another.  We need to judge less and compliment more.  We need to ask when we don’t understand and give each other the gift of compassion.  We need to be honest and open.

It’s a simple New Year’s wish, this little goal of mine:  I want us to work together in 2013 to build a better generation of kind and compassionate children.  I want to focus on the positive and win the race by way of the high road.

I want to celebrate the good because I know the good is out there…

Won’t you join me?

Happy New Year, Practical friends.  Be safe.  Be merry.  And, please – pretty please, make good choices.




About Katie

Katie Hurley is a Child, Adolescent, and Family Psychotherapist and Parenting Expert in Los Angeles, CA. She works in private practice in the South Bay area of Los Angeles, writes for PBS Parents, Washington Post Parents, and the Huffington Post. She is the author of "The Happy Kid Handbook: How to Raise Joyful Children in a Stressful World" (Tarcher/Penguin, 2015) and "No More Mean Girls: The Secret to Raising Strong, Confident, and Compassionate Girls" (Penguin Random House, 2018)