Strengthening our resolve Featured

9:31am EDT December 20, 2002
While the war on terrorism continues, a new war in the Middle East threatens to erupt, and at home, the sluggish economy fails to show signs of recovery. It's no wonder many Americans are finding it hard to remain optimistic or even look forward to the promise of a new year.

However, the worst thing we could do for our families and the economy is to lose hope -- hope that the world will be at peace and its economy, as well as ours, will recover.

Staying positive in the face of so much bad news is not easy. But optimism breeds optimism, just as depression leads to more of the same. One way to stay positive is to remember history and all of the horrific experiences our ancestors survived, including the Depression, two world wars and the Vietnam War.

And while it is my deepest hope that none of us has to go through similar experiences, it is comforting to know that individually and collectively, we did go on. Just as after the Sept. 11 attacks, we cleared the destruction and continued to deal with our sadness and fears. And each day that goes by, we are gaining strength.

But perhaps the best way to gain a positive perspective is to remember that we are still a country and a people with a great many blessings. When you start to wonder how you'll get through the next year, look at your spouse's face and listen to your children's laughter or your friend's kind words, and remember how lucky you are.

So this year, instead of the usual resolutions, maybe these should top our lists.

1. I will be grateful for my home, and for food on the table.

2. I will hug my spouse every day.

3. I will play with my children as often as I can.

4. I will tell a joke or laugh every day.

These resolutions may be the hardest to keep, but they are also the most rewarding.