The New Year holds promise for us all. A fresh beginning, a new start, a grand opportunity to start over. We reflect on what we have done and where we have been and what we should do. Sometimes this self-reflection can be discouraging but it is an activity that should be pursued nonetheless for the greater good of all.
Many years ago, after some time of reflection and prayer in the wilderness of the Wollondilly River, I wrote in my diary my practical love goals. They were things I was going to do for my wife to show her I loved her. Many of those things were practical, such as getting my dirty clothes into the appropriate basket and helping more around the house.
Wives can be curious at the best of times. When my wife, Alison happened to look through my diary (probably trying to help me get organized) she stumbled across my to-do list. It was really embarrassing for me that I had completed less than 20 per cent of my love goals.
I have been telling that story to male and female audiences in marriage seminars and presentations for over two decades now. Every time I ask the rhetorical question of the women in the audience of, “What do you think my wife found when she looked in my diary?” they always guess. I am surprised at how all knowing, all seeing women are because they know the answer every time.
They all seem to know that I accomplished very few of my goals to show my wife how much I loved her. Whenever I ask them, “How did you know the answer?” They look incredulously at me and begin to laugh, as do the other women in the room. It is as if the collective supernatural ability of women to know the level of men’s failure to attain their love goals is a forgone conclusion and yet this foreknowledge is beyond the mere males understanding.
The bottom line is that today being the beginning of the New Year I am going to give you a challenge to write out your goals.
I just wanted you know that I struggle with my goals just like you do. But just in case your wife gets hold of your goals list as my wife did mine, I am going to give you one simple challenge. Bear in mind that you can always add more goals if you wish, but I am just going to give you one.
I have always been big on goal setting; I have been setting goals for over 40 years. Many have come to pass. Many have not. I am convinced that most of the goals that have been fulfilled in my life would not have come to pass if I hadn’t aimed for them. If you aim for nothing you are sure to hit it!
To set a goal is to venture something. The saying, “Nothing ventured nothing gained,” springs to mind. In other words, it is risky to set goals or create a family mission statement but you will never know if you never go. Yes, it is risky setting goals for the New Year but do it anyway. What have you got to lose? Just a bit of pride as I did with my 20 per cent success rate of my matrimonial love goals.
Having said that we have been married for 43 years so maybe a 20 per cent goal setting success rate can still get you across the line long term.
Our family mission statement is: “Love God, love people, tell the world and have fun doing it.”
In view of the last part of my family’s mission statement my challenge to you is to make 2019 the Year of Fun for you and your family. Children often spell love F-U-N so why not put their spelling into action and share the L-O-V-E!
Do you know that positive fun loving people live on average 7.5 years longer than non-fun loving pessimists. The Department of Psychology, Vancouver Hospital and Health Sciences Centre, Changeways program believe that having fun is good for you.
An anonymous friar looked back on his life and considered how he would do it differently if he could turn the clock back. Here’s some of what he said:
If I had my life over again, I would limber up.
I would be sillier than I have been on this trip.
I would watch more sunsets. I would do more walking and looking. I would eat more ice cream and less beans. I would have more actual troubles and fewer imaginary ones.
You see, I am one of those people who lives life sensibly hour after hour, day after day.
I’ve been one of those people who never go anywhere without a thermometer, a hot water bottle, a gargle, a raincoat, an aspirin and a parachute.
If I could do it over again, I wouldn’t make such good grades except by accident. I would ride on more merry-go-rounds.
I would pick more daisies.
The psalmist says, “This day belongs to the LORD! Let’s celebrate and be glad today.” Today is the first day of the rest of your life so why not inhabit the moment and be happy about it.
Don’t sit at parties and watch others dance, get up and dance yourself. It is great exercise as well as fun. The 11th commandment for you, your spouse and your family in 2019 is “You shalt have fun.”
Celebrate the New Year and keep on celebrating. Celebrate your children’s birthdays, your spouse’s birthday and any other event you can think of that includes your family. Put your heart and soul into being happy. If you are happy, your family will probably be happy too and you will live longer and be healthier to boot.
Stop being such a bore and make your family the happiest family in the neighbourhood by starting with yourself.
Write out your goals for 2019 if you want, but I implore you – make sure you write out your fun goals for yourself and your family first. Give it all you’ve got. There is nothing like seriously good fun!
Warwick Marsh is the founder of the Dads4Kids Fatherhood Foundation and has worked as a musician and creative communicator/TV producer. He is editor in chief of the weekly Dads4Kids email newsletter and in 2001 received a Centenary Medal from the Governor-General for service in musical leadership for young people and the Aboriginal community and his international missions and aid work.Got something to add? Join the discussion and comment below.