It is that time of year again. Resolutions are being made, and broken. Young and old are making goals to become better, fitter, smarter, stronger, nicer or whatever in 2011. Isaac even came home talking about the goal he had set at school this week. For the record, I did not make a resolution -- I always break them.
All of this evaluation and reflection is driven by a sense of wanting to achieve something and to leave a mark on the world. Peter Reynold's The North Star is a great book to read as we begin the New Year and evaluate where we go from here. It is a reminder for adults of the struggle to find the path that will bring us the fulfillment that we seek. It is a lesson for children on how to find the path that is waiting for them. And, for parents, it is a caution against forcing children down a path that they do not understand or choose.
Each of us has a North Star, a belief that guides us through life. It may take a while to define it and allow it to lead us, but it is out there waiting to be our beacon. Life can be overwhelming and scary as children navigate the different paths that are before them. As parents we can be a substitute for their North Star, but we cannot wholly replace it, either with ourselves or our desires for our children. The best we can do is point them on their way, gently guide them to safety if they start down a dangerous path, and hope and pray that they find the route that brings them peace.