Let?s aim to do better in 2014

I?m not really into New Year?s resolutions. They only last a short time; the results are almost never permanent. But I do believe in striving to do better, to improve. And the start of 2014 just might be the right time to take that first step. So, here are some ideas of things we can all strive for during the next 12 months.

? Stay alert and focused on the task at hand, especially when operating a motor vehicle. In other words, stop texting and driving. You are not fooling anyone. We all see you doing it.

I?m quite sure you are not praying as you are looking down, though that might be a good option if you are in fact texting behind the wheel. And, watching the person next to me operate a portable electronic device at a stoplight is scary enough, but seeing the distracted driver of an 18-wheeler coming at me at 70 mph is downright terrifying.

? Make a commitment to stop being so angry. It has been my observation that people who are ticked-off all the time are miserable most of the time, and lately a number of special interests have been working hard to divide us into groups and then to pit us against each other.

My advice: Let it all go and come up with ways we can work together to solve common problems.

? That leads me to my next suggestion. The Wichita State University men?s basketball team made a name for itself last year with the slogan ?Play Angry.? The Shockers may be good at basketball, but their grammar leaves something to be desired.

I suggest we make an effort to clean up our sloppy grammar. Maybe it will not bring world peace, but it might provide inspiration to those of us hoping to somehow save the English language from pervasive sloppiness, laziness and apathy.

There has been a recent explosion of the use of action verbs and adjectives. For example, ?play? is an action verb that is not compatible with the adjective ?angry.?

To be precise, and incidentally correct, the clause would have to be ?play angrily.? I know that is awkward, but it means to play in an angry way. We see the same pattern in other promotions. We are told to ?drive happy,? ?rethink possible? and ?eat smart.?

? A good goal for 2014 would be to ?get healthy? (oops, there?s another grammatical gaff). You might be amazed at what a little portion control at meals and a bit of exercise could do for a person?s overall health and frame of mind.

Maybe we don?t need to constantly munch on junk food from the concession stand at every movie and sporting event we attend.

? Let?s take more responsibility for our actions in 2014. We should stop blaming others for our problems and especially for our bad choices. If you blew it, own it. Then, do what you can to fix it.

? Resolve in the next year to be reasonable. I am always amazed and amused by people who see a rare incident as a trend and then avoid any involvement.

Let me provide a couple of examples. A mentally unstable airport employee plans a terrorist attack on the Wichita airport. I heard people say they were changing plans to avoid flying out of the Air Capital for fear Mid-Continent will still be dangerous.

I believe the opposite to be true. Security will now be tighter. Law enforcement officials did their job. They caught the guy before he could do any damage.

Are we afraid to go about our daily business in Hillsboro because one stray bullet penetrated the USD 410 central office? I would hope not. But, it should be a wake-up call to all area hunters to be more careful. And, we should all learn the valuable lesson that we should not work on Satur?days.

? I would suggest that you become more informed in 2014. Find a news source that is accurate and at least reasonably impartial. This might go a long way toward an earlier recommendation to remove some anger from your life. A commentator that simply reinforces what you already believe to be true by only allowing one side of an issue to be heard likely is not your best choice for information.

? Finally, I offer a few more quick suggestions. Learn something new every day. Say ?I love you? more often to someone you value. Give blood if you are able. Laugh more, and be available to those who are hurting. Increase your charitable giving if possible. Accept help when you need it. And, most of all, appreciate what you have, even if it is less than what others have or what you used to have.

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