I first began noticing mentions of One Little Word at the beginning of 2015, but knew so little about it that I largely ignored it at the time. Last January, as I started following more blogs and becoming more active on Twitter, I noticed One Little Word popping up over and over again. I began testing the waters of thinking of my own word. Words tumbled through my mind at school, at home, as I played with my kids and picked up around the house and cuddled up with a good book at night. Word after word played its way through my mind and my heart, but in the end I chickened out and talked myself out of each and every one of them.
Then last spring One Little Word showed up again as our PD director suggested reading One Word That Will Change Your Life (Gordon, Britton, & Page) as part of the planning for our summer PD retreat. Again, I tested countless words, trying to choose one that would embody where I was in my life and what I needed most. Again, I was afraid to commit.
And now it is January again. I began seeing the Twitter and blog posts again a few days ago, and began once more searching for my word. Trust showed up first, followed by believe. I tried them both on for size and, though each had their own merits, neither felt just right.
But this morning, as I snuggled with my 2- and 4-year-olds on the last chilly day of Winter Break, reading them book after book and reliving each moment of Disney’s Beauty and the Beast for the 500th time this week, my word found me. As I held my kids close, the word embrace took hold and won’t let go.
Embrace (v) means to hold (someone) closely in one’s arms, especially as a sign of affection; and to accept or support (a theory, belief, or change) willingly and enthusiastically. Both of these definitions resonate throughout my life right now as I enter a year of change, a year of learning, and a year of loving.
As 2017 lies ahead of me, my word will lead me this year as I:
- Embrace change. My son will start kindergarten this year. My school will go through a transition process as a new school opens teams are divided. Both will lead to significant changes in my daily life, and as these changes become reality I know that I need to embrace the new with a positive and open mind.
- Embrace my children. Nothing makes me more content than holding my kids close as we read and play together. Time is passing much too quickly, and my word will serve as a constant reminder to slow down and treasure every moment, even the most frustrating and challenging ones.
- Embrace my husband. Parenting two little ones is as difficult as they say. We are both busy with work, kids, extra curricular commitments, and trying to preserve a little time for our own personal interests. I know I neglect him sometimes as I get bogged down in the chaos of life. I know I dwell on his faults and get too easily frustrated at times. This year I want to focus on embracing his strengths, appreciating all he does for our family, and recognizing how hard he works.
- Embrace my parents. They are two of the most kind and supportive people I have ever known. I never hesitate to show or tell them how much I love them, and this year I want to focus even more on embracing opportunities to spend more time with them.
- Embrace learning. With only 4 semesters left with my doctoral cohort, it’s hard to believe my time with this incredible group of people is already almost at the halfway point of our seven-semester journey together. As we continue to read, reflect, research, and grow together, I hope to embrace every moment of learning and connecting together.
- Embrace opportunity. So often my over-thinking leaves me afraid to take a chance. Afraid that someone will think I’m not good enough or not knowledgeable enough. While challenging myself to take chances also forces me to embrace my imperfections–I don’t know everything and I never will–I hope that 2017 guides me to become a little bolder, a little more confident, and a little more ready to seize the opportunities that come my way.
- Embrace mistakes. Though I am forgiving of others’ mistakes, I know I am a perfectionist and have a hard time being forgiving of my own. This year I want to make an effort to accept my shortcomings and mistakes as opportunities to grow, learn, and improve myself.
More than anything, I chose my word with a desire to embrace now. To push myself to become more present, more focused, and more patient with the world around me. As I go back to school tomorrow, I look forward to embracing friends, embracing the powerful work we do together, and embracing the opportunities that lie ahead in 2017.