The SCN Encourager – Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Want to do better in 2013?  Get a dog.

Yeah, you read this right. And I didn’t mean this to sound rude or abrupt. Getting a dog actually is one of the New Year “must do” resolutions in this  Fast Company article. And its recommended resolutions list isn’t half bad, either. It didn’t suggest “Get a Mercedes.” It suggests getting a dog. All right! I like it when experts recommend things that I can afford! Most of the time they don’t. Suggestions like “Take a month off and travel the world!” don’t help me much.

Beyond the fact that Fast Company’s New Year’s recommendations aren’t extravagant, I think I caught another resolutions-related break. One recent radio report said that the top two New Year’s resolutions for 2013 involved the commitments to lose weight and exercise more. (Whew! I’m not alone!) The report then said that most folks cited two primary reasons for failing to succeed in their resolutions.  (Oh, oh, I thought. Here’s where I’m going to get nailed for my own lack of willpower and poor eating habits . . . but woo-hoo!)

The report said that people blamed “TV” and “fast food restaurants” as the biggest impediments to change. Apparently, and to my pleasant surprise, personal responsibility is not the issue at all. It’s TV and fast food that are the culprits. So who am I do argue with what the research shows? Facts are facts. (To be honest, though, my wife doesn’t buy into my innocent victim logic. But she’s not an educator and doesn’t value data the way we do. She may not be easy to sway.)

Obviously, I’m joking around a bit with this real-life radio report. But probably (like you) I wasn’t surprised to hear that people blamed a whole host of factors – other than themselves – for faltering in their commitments. No doubt I do this, too; much more than I should.

Unfortunately, today’s psychographic/demographic profiles reveal a declining acceptance of personal responsibility all across the board. And this is yet one more challenge for school communicators. It’s a difficult reality we face everyday.

So . . . now do you see why I love Fast Company’s “get a dog” recommendation? Not only can I afford to get one, I can take my dog for walks and then blame my neighbor’s yard for attracting and causing the occasional messes. 2013 is going to be one great year!

Tom Page, SCN managing editor
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