Happy New Year and the magic sink.

My kids brush their teeth like rock stars destroy hotel rooms. On the daily, coagulated, toothpaste-slobber speckles the sink and counter. Filmy hand prints line the walls and mirror. I have seen my children’s, bathroom hieroglyphics in spots that I could not reach without a ladder. They are obviously the culprits and yet I never catch them in the act. When I walk by them in the hallway as they are brushing their teeth it is as if they are perfectly behaved little angels, smiling politely as they tend to their dental hygiene while being accompanied by gentle harp music. But I know the very moment that I pass by the door, the harp is replaced with a distorted, electric guitar, headbanging backflips and a violent assault of foamy mouthed spit.

This morning, the first day of the new year, I awoke to a clean sink.

I didn’t clean the sink. I asked my kids if they cleaned the sink and they looked at me with terror in their eyes as if they were being interrogated for a crime. Each of them had alibis that checked out so I know that they didn’t clean the sink. The only logical conclusion is that something paranormal has occurred. It’s possible that some sort of magical fairy has visited us in the middle of the night to bless us with freshly polished porcelain but I’m thinking that it was most likely aliens. Our sink was as clean as my wife’s! I must remember to ask her if she’s seen anything peculiar…

Either way, I found a clean sink to be the perfect inspiration on this New Year’s day. I’m not generally one for New Year’s resolutions but 2020 was the year of collective suck and the only possible remedy is collective self improvement.

“Be like the sink.” I told myself.

So this morning I wrote in my journal about a variety of goals that I intend to accomplish this next year. Being intentional is, in a nutshell, my biggest goal of all. When I finished I realized that I needed to impress this concept upon my kids but I couldn’t figure out a way to have this conversation with them that would actually motivate them. Then, tonight at dinner it hit me.

“Boys,” I said, “tell me how you intend to level up in 2021.”

I started the conversation by explaining my key areas which I intended to improve upon and they immediately jumped in with their own goals. The eldest boy wants to improve his math skills because he fell behind in long division during the virtual spring session. The middle boy wants to work on being less nervous when he meets new people and the youngest wants to learn how to read.

They came to these goals of their own free will and I was flabbergasted. They get it! They are pumped to level up. My next plan is to make some kind of badass stats chart. Basically, I need to make a star chart that doesn’t suck and feels like a super cool video game. I’m thinking that we’ll set specific goals with “prizes” that can be earned only we’ll call them rare and super-rare weapons. Maybe they can earn bonus adventures? This project has a lot of potential and will take some work but I promise to report back as it develops further.

For now, I am thankful for a fresh perspective and a new energy. Happy New Year to you all. May you find deep joy, may you level up and may your sink be clean.

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