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  • Writer's pictureSheri McGuinn

Baby Steps Count, It's the Direction That Matters

Happy Holidays! This post is coming out Christmas Eve, but my greeting goes out to everyone celebrating the season.

I just read a National Geographic article about the seven principles of Kwanzaa. A holiday created by one person to foster unity among African Americans, it has spread across the globe. It's not a religion, but the principles seem like a good guide to living, even if you're not black or American. They address unity, self-determination, collective work and responsibility, cooperative economics, purpose, creativity, and faith. The idea of Kwanza is to focus on one of the principles for each of seven days in a row, and then try to take that forward into your life through the next year.

Snowy Creamery Hill Road

I have my most productive years when I take time at year's end to assess what I've done and consider what I want to accomplish in the next year. I think, to help me plan next year, I'm going to spend the next week focusing on one of the principles of Kwanza each day - even though it's not the right dates and I don't fit the original audience, and I may tweak the nature of the principle to be more general.

If you celebrate Christmas or Hanukuh or play Grinch throughout the month, consider trying this with me:

  • Today, think about unity - how you can work together in your family, community, our nation. How can you help heal divisions?

  • Tomorrow, think about who you are and what you want to be. If there are changes you want to make, decide what needs to be done, make a plan, and get to work. Let others know you appreciate their part in your life.

Each of the next days, consider one principle:

  • Collective Work and Responsibility: Plan how you are going to build on commitments and relationships you already have; consider what others you want to begin.

  • Cooperative Economics: This originally encourages African Americans to support black-owned businesses. We've all grown accustomed to ordering from big businesses online - discover your local businesses and consider how to support them.

  • Purpose: Consider and choose a purpose in your life and focus on that. How will everything else you do serve that purpose?

  • Creativity: Be intentional. For me, this means asking some questions: What do I want to accomplish with my creativity? How do I want it to be expressed? How do I want it to fit into my life?

  • Faith: Be faithful to yourself, to your family and community and culture. Have faith you can make the world a better place to be through your daily choices.

That brings us to New Year's Eve - time to create a motivation board or write resolutions or draft a plan for the year ahead.

Remember: Baby steps count, it's the direction that matters.

Sheri McGuinn - I write. Award-winnind stories and novels, screenlplays and more.

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