Gerald’s Secret New Year’s Resolutions
January 1978

“Gerald’s Secret New Year’s Resolutions,” Friend, Jan. 1978, 2

Gerald’s Secret New Year’s Resolutions

Gerald woke up on New Year’s Day feeling tired.

“Time to get up,” called Mother. “Breakfast is on the table.”

When Gerald came into the kitchen rubbing his eyes, Mother asked, “Did you make any New Year’s resolutions?”

Gerald didn’t answer his mother’s question just then. He felt like complaining that he hadn’t had enough sleep, but instead he forced a smile and said, “Morning, Mom.” Then Gerald saw that they were having oatmeal for breakfast. He was going to say, “Ugh! I can’t stand oatmeal.” Instead, he said, “Thanks, Mom, you’re sure nice to have my breakfast ready.”

“Good morning, Gerald,” said Dad. “Greg and Jennie and I have been talking about our New Year’s resolutions.”

Greg and Jennie were Gerald’s little brother and sister. They were twins and it seemed to Gerald that all they ever did was argue.

“I resolved to eat all of my oatmeal every morning,” said Jennie with a giggle.

“Big deal!” said Greg. “That’s no resolution. You love oatmeal.”

“Jennie also resolved to make her bed every morning before playing,” said Dad.

“And Greg resolved to write a letter to Grandma and Grandpa once a week and make his bed every morning.”

“How about you, Gerald?” asked his mother again. “Have you made any resolutions?”

“As a matter of fact, I have,” answered Gerald with a grin. “But, they’re a secret.”

“A secret!” cried Greg. “That’s no fun! How will we know if you’re keeping your resolutions?”

“Oh, you’ll know,” answered Gerald with an even bigger grin. “I made five resolutions and you’re supposed to guess what they are by watching me.”

“Ah ha!” said Mom. “That explains a few things that have already surprised me this morning. I think I know what two of your resolutions are.”

“Well, one of my resolutions is to see that the garage stays clean,” said Dad. “And I notice that someone has left my tools scattered all over the workbench. I expect that someone to put them back where they belong.”

“I didn’t touch them,” said Jennie.

“I haven’t been in the garage,” Greg declared.

“I didn’t do it,” was what Gerald was about to say, but then he remembered using them. “I used them, Dad, and I’ll put them away today for sure,” he promised.

Dad smiled. “I think I’m beginning to guess one of your secret resolutions too,” he said, winking at Gerald.

“What is it?” teased Jennie.

“You have to guess,” Gerald answered.

“I’m going to tidy up the garage this morning,” Dad announced. “Why don’t each of you do whatever you need to, and then we’ll play a game of football when I’m through.”

“I’ll make my bed,” shouted Jennie and Greg at the same time, and they both ran off to their bedrooms.

“I’ll do these dishes,” Mom said and began clearing the table.

“I’ll warm up the football,” Gerald almost said; then he remembered. “Can I help you, Mom, before I put away the tools?”

After Gerald finished helping with the dishes and putting away Dad’s tools, he went to his room to make his bed and get the football. When he walked down the hall he found Jennie and Greg arguing over who should put away an animal game that was spread on the hall floor.

“You got it out,” complained Jennie.

“You helped me play with it,” said Greg.

“Will you two ever quit fighting?” was what Gerald nearly said, but he didn’t.

“Hey, you two, it will just take a minute to put this game away if you both help. In fact, I’ll help you. Let’s see how fast we can pick it up.”

Gerald’s family had fun playing football and doing many other things that day. By evening Gerald’s family thought they had guessed all five of his resolutions. They wrote them down and gave them to Gerald to see if they had guessed right.

And they had!

Can you guess what Gerald promised to be when he made his New Year’s resolutions? Unscramble the five words if you don’t already know.



  • cheerful, polite, truthful, helpful, peacemaking

Illustrated by Phyllis Luch