“Take Hold of the New”

I wasn’t going to make any New Year’s Resolutions this year.

I guess I felt like I had enough on my plate just to get through a normal week – I definitely didn’t need to add anything extra. : )

But then, after spending an hour playing Spider Solitaire one night, I had a sudden brainstorm. I would make New Year’s Resolutions, and the first one would be deleting Spider Solitaire from my iPad! : )

And then, you know how it goes, once you make one resolution, you might as well make another. Before I knew it, I had a good list.

2016 new year

My own list prompted me to create a week of English language lessons discussing New Year’s resolutions with my adult learners here at LSS.

We did some listening exercises with YouTube, hearing others discuss their New Year’s resolutions. We talked about the symbolic meaning of a New Year and discussed the categories in which people make resolutions: money, health, work, hobbies, and family.

We also talked about the language behind resolutions: making, breaking, and keeping.

What I enjoyed most, however, was hearing the students talk about their own resolutions.

first blank page.png

One student from Iraq has a goal of visiting her home country this summer. She hasn’t returned since she fled 11 years ago.  Her children, at that time, were babies.  Now they have grown up and her parents won’t even recognize them.

Another student from El Salvador said his list included talking to his friends about God.  His idea was received with much praise from both Christian and Muslim students.  One student from Sudan said, “That is a very good thing.  Very nice.  Very important.”  Smiles and comaraderie were exchanged all the way around.

Every student said they want to improve their English. Quite a few said they want to take a Citizenship class here at LSS and then study for and pass the U.S. Citizenship test.

Many have plans to get better jobs, to visit family, and to improve their living conditions.

I handed out two quotes for them to hang on their walls at home:

“Tomorrow is the first blank page of a 365 page book. Write a good one.”

“Let go of the old, take hold of the new, and believe that this year will be your best year yet.”

Some of these students have only been in the U.S. a few months while some have been here for a decade, but all of their lives have been turned upside down. They find themselves in a foreign land with a foreign language and foreign customs.  And yet what they want most is to succeed here.  They are looking forward.  They are making plans.  They are making resolutions to improve their own lives and the lives of those around them.

I know they will write good books on the blank pages of their lives.

Let us all do the same. Happy New Year!

Posted by Julie Boutwell-Peterson

 

 

 

 

 

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