This week, a playful dialogue delving deeper into the idea of New Year’s Resolutions. The two speakers in the dialogue are both the same person, which might be an interesting way of bridging from spoken philosophy to written.

Warm-up Questions

Imagine you had made a New Year’s Resolution last year and succeeded in keeping it. What would you want it to be?

Imagine you get asked the same question next year about this year. What do you think your answer would be?

Give Yourself A Good Talking To

“This year I’m going to keep my room tidy, save up for a new bike, and be nice to my little brother.” 

“That’s all very well for you to say, but what about me?”

“What about who? Who’s that?”

“It’s future you, that’s who. The one who’s going to have to pick up the clothes, not spend money on sweets and put up with that pipsqueak going on about Octonauts.”

“Oh. Sorry, I don’t think we’ve met.”

“No. Normally I keep myself in the future, where it’s nice and peaceful. But I’ve had just about enough of you messing things up for me. First, you start tying me down to things I don’t want to do, by making promises to other people. Like telling mum you’ll start ironing your own clothes. Now you’re making promises to yourself about what I’m going to do.”

“Well, I’ve got to make plans, haven’t I?”

“You can make plans as much as you like, as long as they don’t involve me. I don’t go reaching back into the present to make you do things.”

“Actually, now you mention it, you do. Like the way I have to work hard, even at subjects I don’t like, to get good grades and a good job… that’s all for you. I don’t get anything out of it. In fact, I might put you on the waiting list for a paper-round just to get my own back.”

“You want me to walk two miles every morning carrying a ton of newspapers? You better start by walking that dog you begged for three birthdays ago.”

Questions

Who wins this argument – present you, or future you?

Can you think of any resolutions that don’t require “future you” to co-operate?

How can present-you help future-you?
How can future-you help present-you?
How important should future-you be to present-you?
If past-you joined this conversation, what would it say?

Is a New Year’s Resolution the same as a promise?
If you make a New Year’s Resolution not to make any New Year’s Resolutions, have you kept your resolution or broken it?
Is it cheating to change New Year’s Resolution? 
Why do people find it hard to keep New Year’s Resolutions?

Extension Activity

Writing a conversation between future-you and present-you, or work-you and play-you, or good-you and naughty-you is a very enjoyable writing exercise. There’s a desperate need for children to write at length more often for the pleasure of it and to develop fluency, without fretting about fronted adverbials and other instruments of torture, and dialogues are a very accessible form.

Sticky Question of the Week

Best wishes, 

Jason & Tom

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