Bill Cirone, Santa Barbara Superintendent of Schools

Traditionally, the beginning of a new year is a time for making resolutions. Some of these promises we keep, and others we break, but the simple act of asserting these goals can sometimes help us focus efforts in the right direction.

Resolutions for parents have circulated for years, and they bear repeating:

•     I will always love my children for who they are, not who I want them to be. It’s an important distinction because each child is unique and has special skills and attributes. It’s important to acknowledge those assets, rather than focusing on perceived shortfalls.

•     I will give my child space to grow, to dream, to succeed and even to fail. Without that space, it is very difficult for growth to take place.

•     I will create a loving home environment, regardless of what effort it takes at any given time. This can be hard, because pressures on parents can be overwhelming, but the focus on a loving environment is crucial.

•     When discipline is necessary, I will let my child know that I disapprove of what he does, not who he is. It is a vital message to send to children at all times.

•     I will set limits and help my children find security in the knowledge of what is expected of them. They will not have to guess what is right or wrong.

•     I will make time for all my children and cherish our moments together. Many a senior citizen has voiced regrets over this very issue. Life is complicated — it takes a certain amount of discipline to slow down and cherish those moments with children.

•     I will not burden my children with emotions and problems they are not equipped to deal with.

•     I will encourage my children to experience the world and all its possibilities, taking pains to leave them careful but not fearful. This is difficult but important.

•     I will try to be the kind of person I want my children to be: loving, fair-minded, giving, and hopeful.

It’s a tall order, but these goals are all worth the effort. Each one can make a real difference for children. In fact, let’s resolve together to make 2015 a wonderful year for everyone in our county, young and old alike. Happy new year to all.