I was thinking about the word “breaking” recently probably because I am such a big fan of “Breaking Bad,” but also because it has such a bad connotation.
Yet, if you really examine the word, I think there is also a positive side to “breaking.” For example “breaking a bad habit,” or “breaking the mold,” or “breaking out.” In my opinion, these are all good things worthy of taking on.
As I head into the New Year, I would like to use the word as my mantra as a mother and as a human being. I think it’s important to break things every once in awhile so that they can be repaired, restored or even reinvented into something even better.
This year I “broke” some of our family’s Christmas traditions. We held our Christmas carol party inside because it was raining instead of outside around a fire. As a result, we were able to gather around our piano to create a chillingly beautiful sound.
We ate out for Christmas Eve instead of having a traditional pasta dinner at home. This was relaxing and a lot more festive than I expected it to be. We made Christmas dinner a potluck instead of handling the entire meal for two dozen guests. And guess what? It all worked out just fine.
These may sound like small things, but any real change begins with a single small step. It is not just the act of doing something different and new, but the act of believing what you’re doing is the right choice.
Structure is important for children because it gives them stability and comfort. But every once in a while, it is important to “break the mold” and choose a bike ride instead of grocery shopping, or a family movie instead of responding to email. In short, breaking things that need to be broken — bad habits, stale traditions, structure without purpose, can be a good thing for the entire family.
I am reminded of one of my favorite quotes by writer Henry Miller: “The aim of life is to live, and to live means to be aware, joyously, drunkenly, serenely, divinely aware.”
In 2014, I plan to follow Miller’s advice, even if it means breaking a few things in the process.
Amanda is the mom of two, a reporter for WRAL-TV and the author of several books including three on motherhood. Find her here on Mondays.