Let’s chat about New Year’s resolutions.  Do you resolve to give up something?  Do something better?  Take care of yourself?  Have you ever resolved to be more involved in your community?  When did the New Year’s resolution start?  According to history.com:

“The ancient Babylonians are said to have been the first people to make New Year’s resolutions, some 4,000 years ago. They were also the first to hold recorded celebrations in honor of the new year—though for them the year began not in January but in mid-March, when the crops were planted. During a massive 12-day religious festival known as Akitu, the Babylonians crowned a new king or reaffirmed their loyalty to the reigning king. They also made promises to the gods to pay their debts and return any objects they had borrowed. These promises could be considered the forerunners of our New Year’s resolutions. If the Babylonians kept to their word, their (pagan) gods would bestow favor on them for the coming year. If not, they would fall out of the gods’ favor—a place no one wanted to be.

 

Despite the tradition’s religious roots, New Year’s resolutions today are a mostly secular practice. Instead of making promises to the gods, most people make resolutions only to themselves, and focus purely on self-improvement (which may explain why such resolutions seem so hard to follow through on). According to recent research, while as many as 45 percent of Americans say they usually make New Year’s resolutions, only 8 percent are successful in achieving their goals. But that dismal record probably won’t stop people from making resolutions anytime soon—after all, we’ve had about 4,000 years of practice.”

So what are the most common resolutions?

What if we resolved to be more involved in our communities?  Volunteers are greatly needed throughout Washington.  Volunteering is something that your family can do together.  I volunteer because y mom volunteered.  She took Bridgette and me to all of her volunteer nights.  Even though we were just kids we had our own jobs to do.  We were in Kindergarten or first grade when we were helping.  It is a child’s natural instinct to help.  We rolled silverware in napkins, pushed chairs under tables and sprinkled confetti for decoration (That only happened once!  I’m sure you can imagine the result).  After daytime events we would help clean up.  Kids are capable of helping.  We just need to take a few moments to include them and find jobs suited to their skills.

Volunteering kids become volunteering teenagers.  This gives them many opportunities.  A. Volunteering looks good on a college application and resume, B. They may find a carer path that they can follow, C. They feel a sense of place and belonging and take ownership of their projects, D. They learn that the world is a large place with many different people and the value of working together for the greater good.

As they become adults volunteering is second nature!  The become pillars of their communities and mentor the next generation.  Washington is an exceptional place, especially when it comes to volunteers.  Those of us who are adult volunteers need to consciously include kids and teens so that we keep our amazing volunteer spirit going strong!

Downtown Washington, Inc. has many volunteer opportunities and we would love to help you get involved!  Take the volunteer quiz at volunteerquiz.org, then email your results to assistant@downtownwashmo.org and we will help you find your nitsche at Downtown Washington, Inc.

Danielle Grotewiel