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  • Writer's pictureAlex Rathbun

Can you guess my year's word?

Have you heard of the trend of deciding on a word for the year?

New Year's resolutions often add unnecessary pressure to life or are difficult to keep without having grace for yourself, which I think is where this idea was born. Choosing one word for the new year is more like choosing a kind guide to continually return to throughout the year.

While thinking and praying about what word I'd like to focus on this year, a specific memory kept coming to mind: While nursing (hang with me if you're not interested in hearing about nursing), Lincoln recently has begun a thing where he is eating happily, then will suddenly get extremely panicked and angry and will refuse to continue because his frustration has taken over. The first time this happened, my natural response was to be frustrated with him. I tensed up and said "why are you doing this!?" But then a very conscious switch happened in my brain where I realized my harsh response would only make him more tense. But if I could relax, hold him gently and speak softly to him, he would be much more likely to also relax and then continue eating.

I realized in that moment how much control my emotional response has not just over me, but over Lincoln and over the tone of our family. And in a lot of cases, I actually have the power to pause and choose my response! I imagine that parenthood and life will bring a lot of moments this year where my first response is frustration or panic, but I can instead consciously chose to stay calm.

So that is my word for the year: calm. I want to practice choosing calm rather than panic. Peace rather than frustration. Fight my often anxious reflex with a more thoughtful and helpful response of calm.

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