You know that thing where you try to use cool slang in front of my friends? Stop doing that.
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I love New Year’s resolutions. Love to make them, write them down, and commit to them loudly with bravado at New Year’s Eve parties (“I’m SO gonna do Tough Mudder this year! AND go gluten free. WHO’S WITH ME?!!”) even while knowing all that big talk will likely evaporate by February. I just like this time of year when we all attempt to take a few steps toward becoming better humans, at least for a little while.
For me, resolutions fall into two categories:
- Outward Accomplishments — get more writing done, make more money, be the first bald man ever to grow a new head of hair by determination and straining alone
- Inward Improvements — be nicer, be less judgmental, be a tiny bit less hypocritical by not yelling at other drivers just before cutting someone else off myself
In effort to have some nice father-daughter bonding time recently, I sat down my 14-year-old daughter to talk about making our New Year’s resolutions, particularly in the category of Inward Improvements.
Spoiler Alert: she doesn’t have any.
That is, she doesn’t have any resolutions for herself. Turns out, however, she had several resolutions for me.
Like, a list.
That she’d already written down.
Ways that I, her father, can improve.
It was a super-productive discussion.
These are the resolutions my daughter told me I should embrace in 2016, straight from the 14-year-old’s mouth:
1. No more knocking on my door and asking if I want to, like, hang out all the time. If I want to hang out, I’ll come find you.
Me: But you never want to hang out.
Her: That’s not true. We hung out for an hour yesterday.
Me: That was Christmas. You hung out with me because I was giving you presents.
Her: Well, let’s do more of that kind of hanging out then.
2. You know that thing where you try to use cool slang in front of my friends? Stop doing that. No one actually says “OMG” out loud. It’s not a thing.
Me: Are you sure? Because kids on TV say it all the time.
Her: No! Bad dad.
3. Stop repeating yourself all the time. For example, you don’t need to tell me to wash the dishes FIVE TIMES after every night.
Me: But you never respond after the first four times. If you did, I would stop —
Her: You don’t give me a chance! Sometimes it just takes me a while to, you know, process what you’re saying.
4. Stop talking about Star Wars, like, all the time.
5. Ease up about my grades. Sometimes a B+ is just fine.
Me: But what if it’s in a class where I know you can get an A?
Her: If I could get an A in a class, I’d already have one. A B+ is still above average, you know.
Me: I’d like to think we can set our goals higher than –
Her: BAD DAD!
6. Stop trying to make me do boring grown-up things all the time.
Me: You mean like laundry?
Her: Very funny.
7. Stop worrying so much about whether I have enough feminine hygiene products in the bathroom.
Me: I just don’t want you to run out of… girl stuff
Her: Dad, you buy “girl stuff” every time you go to the store. I’ll literally never run out for the next 20 years.
Me: Parental responsibility. Listen, some day when you’re an adult you’re going to run out of … stuff, and you’ll look back on what a responsible father I was. And how awkward it was to buy the … stuff.
8. Stop worrying about my screen time. I’m not looking at anything gross online. I’m basically just talking with my friends or drawing on my iPad.
Me: OK. Just promise me you won’t give out any personal information to some stranger claiming to be a 14-year-old named Katy. It might be a 65-year-old guy named Cleetus living in a trailer somewhere.
Her: Dad, I’m not stupid.
Me: Not the point.
9. Stop worrying so much about me in general. I’m totally fine.
Me: Sorry, kid. I’ll never be able to keep that one. Oh, and you should probably know that I’ve made my own set of resolutions that are the exact opposite of everything you just said.