But not this year. I had so many things to celebrate in 2006 and many more wonderful events planned for 2007 (ie. buying my first home, my sister's wedding, my cousin's wedding just to name a few) that moodiness was not on the menu; I enjoyed this New Year's Eve even though I didn't make it to midnight :)
But this post isn't about resolutions like trying to lose weight, cutting down on the chocolate (although I need to do both of those!) or watching less TV. It is about hope and it is about making a change, but maybe not in a way you've thought about before. And maybe it will move you to make a very important change in your own life as well.
It all started with my son (doesn't it always?) when he brought a letter home from school a few weeks ago that talked about a class project they were doing involving an organization called Pennies for Peace.
Pennies for Peace works with the Central Asia Institute to provide community based education in Pakistan and Afghanistan with a focus on educating girls who have historically not been permitted to attend school, for example during the reign of the Taliban in Afghanistan.
I think we all know what literacy can do to change the course of a life, but for these communities it can change the lives of an entire village or town. Literacy provides better economic opportunities, as well as loosens the grip of extremists who use fear as a weapon against those who are uneducated and feel that they have been abandoned by the world at large. In short, programs like these can literally change the world.
So what's with the pennies? Well, according to the organization's website: "The penny, 1% of a dollar, is symbolic of the '1% of Gross Domestic Product' goal set by the United Nations. The goal was for wealthy countries to give foreign aid to impoverished nations each year. . . A penny in the United States is virtually worthless, but in Pakistan and Afghanistan a penny buys a pencil and opens the door to literacy."
So my son's school is asking that the families of their students collect pennies at home and then bring them to school to be added to the collections of other students which will then be donated to the Pennies for Peace organization. Wow. What an amazing thought. By simply collecting pennies and combining them with the pennies of your friends and family you can change the lives of countless children - with just a few pennies. No wonder my four-year-old son is so excited. (No one gets out of our house without donating)
And I'm excited, too. It's a tremendous feeling to be part of such a wonderful program. So, yes, I'm doing it for selfish reasons. I'm going to be really selfish this year and work to make a positive, tangible change in the world. I think Pennies for Peace is a great place to start. Maybe your child's school would, too?
Or what about volunteering in a soup kitchen once a month, once every two weeks or even every week? Maybe the playground down the street could use some cleaning up, some fresh paint and some new equipment? Maybe your neighbor could use some help mowing his lawn or getting a ride to the doctor? Or maybe a grandparent loves to garden, but can't tend her own anymore; could you help?
So I encourage you to make just one promise to yourself in 2007, and to make it to the world. If we all just pitch in a little bit, great things can be achieved. Change begins with you. And when it's positive change, the effects will be felt not only by you, but by your family and the people that your family members touch and the chain of good will go on and on and on. There's no better time to start . . . Make this the resolution you keep this year and for all the years that follow.
This post is part of a blog exchange. My name is Nancy and I am the proud mother of two rambunctious boys, ages two and four. I've been writing fiction most of my life, but now have a new passion for blogging. You can usually find me over at Just Thinking . . . where I write about everything from family to politics to writing to, well, not much is off limits.
And to Damselfly, who you can find today over at Just Thinking . . ., thanks for letting me use your space :)