A new year is here and like most I have set goals and planed for the journey ahead. I normally think of this time in the year – last 2 weeks of December and the first 2 weeks of January – as a door that closes and another that opens. This introspective process normally unfolds ahead of the holidays as I take some time off to think through the life experiences I went through and set my hopes for what’s to come. The time off with family re-energizes me in preparation for the new year. But 2020 was not a normal year and even the sense of certainty in this routine was somehow different this time. Maybe it was because it all felt a bit more isolated. Or maybe it’s because plans have become more trivial. One thing 2020 blessed me with was more intimate time with family. Talking, thinking out loud, sharing of what we see and the emotions we feel from what is happening all around us has helped me prepare for the new year. This post was built on the experiences of 2020 but based on the conversations of the last 4 weeks. These are the lessons we learned as a family as we prepare for a new year.
Lesson #1 – Stay Flexible
Most of our time off during the holidays is normally spent outside. As a family we love a good hike in the woods. It definitely brings out the best in us as Courtney and I can spend time in conversation without sibling rivalries taking over. In the woods our kids can adventure together without feeling like it’s a competition. But this time, as we planned most of our time being out in the Greenway, the weather didn’t always collaborate. It was during a change of plans that our daughter shared her 2020 lesson.
What I learned from 2020 is that you need to be flexible!Ava Marques
This need to be flexible was definitely on display during our time off. For a child who loves school, being away from teachers and friends required an adjustment. This simple yet brutally honest assessment of our 10 year old was something we all needed to hear. Our kids have had to adjust to school being different and as parents we’ve had to adjust our work and home realities, as both became one. Flexibility with a plan can seem counterintuitive but it is possible when your purpose is clearly defined. Your destination is still the same but your map on how to get there changes.
Lesson #2 – When you get knocked down.. you get up again
When the weather finally cooperated we challenged ourselves for our longest family hike so far: 8 miles! Everyone was up for it and the time spent together really made for some great memories. But that doesn’t mean it was easy. Especially for our kids. And while I won’t say which of our children had the hardest time through the hike, one in particular had to stop halfway through due to hunger. It was at that moment that both of our boys shared their 2020 lesson.
In 2020 we learned that when you get knocked down you need to fight and get back up!Caden and Blake Marques
This desire to fight back and to persevere is helpful in a hike, and a fitting response to what 2020 threw at us. In a year packed with ups and downs it can be overwhelming to look back. In those tough moments many of us don’t know how to react. But sometimes all we need is to take one step at a time. Getting up from the challenges, learning from it, and pushing through.
Lesson #3 – Everything is better when we do it together
When we finished our 8 mile family hike we knew we had done something special. But the most important part was that we did it together. As a family. And in many ways this too reflected the biggest lesson Courtney and I had for 2020.
We can learn more, grow more and achieve more when we do it together!Courtney and David Marques
It is easy to describe 2020 as the year the majority of us were stuck at home. But I believe the most encouraging part of 2020 was that it reminded us that being together as a family is enough. And whether that is taking a family hike, riding our bikes, watching a movie, or having a family game night, the simplicity of these moments created memories that make me yearn for more. More conversations with my wife and kids. More time understanding and learning about their views of the world. More opportunities to be together!
So what were your lessons from 2020 and how are you applying them to 2021? I would love to hear from you!