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Reflecting on 2021: Was it a good year or a bad year?

If we're thoughtful about our responses, we may be able to shape the narrative

The Star Herald news writers each year at the end of December consider and recap top stories that made headlines throughout the year.
This year’s final edition again attempts to recap 12 months of news with a series of sub-headlines in a single (albeit long) story.
Just like last year, and the years before that, the annual review recaps Rock County’s tragedies and triumphs that build on our community’s history, one deadline at a time.
While the annual compilations are intended to be “Top 10 Stories” of sorts, they have a way of prompting us to reflect on their impact.
For example, we’re eager to put the pandemic behind us, but the virus continues to affect our daily lives.
So, at the end of the year, we reflect on this. What has been the impact of the pandemic on our community? How did we as individuals respond? Did our responses help or hinder the outcome?
We could ask the same questions about nearly any community challenge.
And if we’re smart, we’ll gauge our responses — in real time — in terms of how they affect outcomes, not looking back several months later.
What went well?
What did we fail at?
What mistakes did we make?
How can we prevent them next time?
Did we grow and learn from challenges?
What did we learn about ourselves along the way?
What are we proud of?
What are we grateful for?
It’s during our year-end reflections that these questions arise, and we’d all do well to consider how we’ll respond to the next challenge.
How can we be better? How can we do better? How can we make the community better by making us all better? In Jesus’ words, “Whatsoever you do to the least of your brothers and sisters, you do unto me.” (Matthew 25)
Let’s take these reflections into the New Year and work toward a positive year-end review.
As we’ve often said, we’re defined not by our challenges but rather by how we respond to them (and learn from them and grow from them).
Happy New Year, dear readers. May 2022 be the year we all do better because we all do better.

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