I have to admit that I am not a big fan of making New Year resolutions – maybe because I often find myself mired in midwinter gloom at this time of year, battling those grim gremlins that taunt me with last year’s shortcomings and failings.  Making some sort of “resolution”  on top of all this angst just seems too daunting!
But this year, I had just returned from a trip to India where my daughter has lived and worked for four years, and some wise words from a lovely young Indian girl gave me much to pause and ponder at the brink of this New Year.
For part of our trip, we went on a house boat on the back waters of Kerala. 
Map of Kerala, India
View from our houseboat on waters of Kerala
This was our little “day” boat that took us on some local sightseeing trips

In the evenings one of the crew, a lovely young Indian girl, would take us ashore and give us a taste of local life there – she even showed us her lodgings where she stayed at nights while the boat was moored – a modest, but pristine room with bunk beds! There, adorning her wall, was a big blue ribbon and a certificate for best employee of the month.  And it didn’t take us long to figure out that such an award was more than warranted – it wasn’t just her delightful demeanor and sweet spirit, but it was her burning desire to shine at whatever she did.  Every evening as she shepherded us back to our rooms on the boat, she would smile and ask us ever so earnestly, “What can I do better?”
Hmmm, what a question to ponder!

our lovely Indian girl took us to see a local Hind festival in nearby village

This month’s read aloud, Mabela the Clever, shows us that tales from other lands can deepen our perspective about the world around us, and help us see things in a different way.  And so, these wise words from a lovely young girl in a far away land, have helped me to see in a new way.

  Maybe if I can take her questions, What can I do better?” as my daily mantra, then that would be the best New Year resolution ever.  
I love how it ties into those words of Socrates, “the unexamined life is not worth living.” 

 So, as I take time to “examine” my day, I want to focus on what I can do better – in all areas of my life.  And as I ponder that question, I link myself to this lovely Indian girl – my faraway friend from another land who has indeed taught me much about “cleverness.”