It is that time that occurs about once a year when I start thinking about items that I need to teach my kids that are “non-gradeables”.

In fact, it is also the time of year where I rack my brains trying to recall what I was trying to achieve in the previous year, but invariably fail on that account.

So, this year, I thought I would write it down; thus, next year someone may be kind enough to remind me to look back and remember what we were supposed to be working on.

Given my memory issues, the past 5 years have probably had the exact same “non-gradeable” goal.

Ahh, but you may be wondering what I mean by “non-gradeables”.  These would be, I guess, personal skills that everyone really should have, and many of us are lacking in some respect or another.

Manners, for example.

Oooh, or I remember one year, when we were stationed in Germany, my older kids worked on hand-shaking, eye contact, and speaking without mumbling.

By the way, more people need to practice hand-shaking.  I have never had such wussy handshakes as I have had here.

Oh, and honesty.  That’s one I like to instill. . .But you know, honesty actually is not valued as so many people would have you believe.  In fact, I’ve come to realize that most people would like to be spoken to with an honesty that is so “softly” spoken that it’s meaning is entirely capable of being lost in translation, depending on the listener.  I strive to be honest, but I get in more trouble being honest than actually makes it worth while.  (Can you believe it?)  I used to think it was because I suffer a lack of tact. . . which I do. . .but, I have come to realize that more often than not it is because of what the listener adds to (“reading between the lines”), or takes away from my words.  I have no control over that!  I can’t even predict where people will go with my words!  But, by golly, the majority of people will take those words of mine for a walk around the block and back and then come back to me with some idea that was totally never intended. . .nor said.

*sigh*  (pet peeve, stepping off soap box now)

So, I am considering this upcoming year and have finally decided what “virtue”, if you will, we will be working on.

This year we are going to focus on “work ethic”.


The sucky thing about working on any particular thing with kiddoes, is that you have to set the example.

Which means, when I think of this particular goal for the year, I think more about what I need to work on and less on what they do.  (downright depressing / humbling)

But, next year, I’m going back to the hand-shake, eye contact, and speaking without mumbling business.


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