Pick a Theme

Students in Mr. Melton’s 11th grade English class revisited, revised, and reinvigorated their resolutions for the year. 

In light of the recent events, Mr. Melton’s students focused on creating a theme for their year (or season, or any amount of time they desired), instead of a typical resolution that tends to be short-lived and sometimes hard to reach. “Since we have found ourselves in a new world order, I asked the kids to come up with a theme for the rest of the season, instead of a resolution,” he said. “Like something that you can sort of work toward, but if you fall short or go astray, there is no actual goal that you will miss,” Mr. Melton explained, “Low stakes and higher success rate.”  Students approached this assignment by first watching this CGP Grey video that illustrates the importance of choosing themes over resolutions.

The themes that he received back from his students were inspiring. Read a few excerpts of the responses here that focus on positivity, consciousness, and adventure:

Positivity is easily and commonly defined by the practice or tendency of being positive or optimistic in attitude. I have chosen the theme of positivity because I feel that it is necessary for progress and happiness in a human's life. It helps us to conduct ourselves with hope, enthusiasm, and excitement for the future. If you’re able to conduct yourself with a positive and optimistic attitude, you’re able to live life to the fullest. However, it is easier said than done to conduct your lifestyle in a positive manner. Part of positivity is knowing that things may not always go your way and that things may go wrong but also knowing how to deal with the things that go wrong and making the best out of every situation, good or bad. So how do you make the choice to live a positive lifestyle? You start by waking up every day and telling yourself you’re going to make it a great day. Whether the decisions you make create a day you would love to have or not, you deal with the bumps along the way. You work your hardest to always see the light at the end of the tunnel. Even doing little things to put a smile on someone’s face. Making the smallest difference in someone’s life and changing their day from a bad one to an amazing one. Making the choice—instead of making a negative, snarky comment, making a positive one and uplifting someone else. Not hurting someone for your personal gain and thinking of someone other than yourself. I chose positivity because it's what I want to see in the world and, though it seems small, persisting through the negativity we are constantly faced with and turning it into something positive.” ~Jordyn ‘21

Improving consciousness. What does that mean? Well, I don't have a direct meaning for it, which makes it a great, feasible theme to apply to my life. The theme of consciousness relates to gaining perspectives, acknowledging those perspectives, and simply recognizing your actions and words. Recognizing your actions are important as they affect the people around you, and many words that you carelessly spew carry much more weight than you realize.
There are two sides of this theme. The first is perspective. This means looking at the bigger picture and gaining new perspectives through conversations or different media. I find myself struggling with interpretation and acknowledging other perspectives to incorporate them into my thinking. Judging issues is inherently based on your experience with such issues, though you can change this by incorporating others' thoughts and ideas. This “self-sided” thinking can be remedied by listening to others’ stories. Issues or events can be taken as an opportunity to listen to others. This also comes with a willingness to change my thoughts and opinions. Breaking out of a mindset in which an individual thinks they are always correct is challenging and is a process of personal development.
"The second aspect of the theme includes being conscious of my words and actions. This ties in with perspective and recognizing the bigger picture, but it is more personal. Interacting with my friends carries a sense of safety with our words and actions as I surround myself with people with whom I share many of the same interests and ideas. As this is not true with all my friends, by surrounding myself with people who share the exact same perspectives as I do, can be just as damaging as ignoring others’ stories. It's important to talk to people whom you may not agree, so you can learn from them and they can learn from you.” ~Taylor ‘21
“In the next year, I want to be more adventurous, so my theme is “Year of Adventure.” I often tend to stick with what’s safe much of the time, even when I’m interested in trying something new. Part of that probably has to do with being confident enough to try something new, so maybe it should be “Year of Confidence” instead. Either way, I really want to push myself to do things that are not what I would normally do and break out of my comfort zone a little more. I have so many ideas of things I’d like to try, but when it comes down to it in real life, I tend to change my mind at the last second.
“Being stuck at home the past few weeks has made this idea much more appealing because right now I would do anything to be able to do something fun and new. It has also given me plenty of time to think about the things I’d like to be doing in the future. It has made me realize that this is not what I want my life to look like. I don’t want to stay at home watching Netflix or reading all the time. I want to go out and meet new people and travel and try new food and do something impulsive with my friends.” ~Audrey ‘21