Sometimes change comes easily and it is wonderful. Babies start sleeping through the night, moms start having a little more time for themselves, and partners begin to find more moments to enjoy each other’s company. Other types of change are not as positive: A child’s behavior has suddenly become challenging, a mom has started feeling anxious, or a relationship hits a rough spot. The extreme changes that we experience are, of course, the most difficult: losses of health, loved ones, connections, or important roles and opportunities in our lives.
The commonality in all of these, regardless of how they are experienced, is that they are changes and they reflect a natural part of our world. The Greek Philosopher Heraclitus said it best with his assertion that “No man ever steps in the same river twice.” In other words, life is flux, and all things change.
How we react to changes in our lives is certainly related to our well-being. If we go around expecting that things will stay the same, then we are constantly shocked and caught off-guard when they change. Similarly, if we resist the relatively minor changes that naturally happen, we experience tension and conflict within ourselves and in our relationships with others. And for those difficult changes that are the most painful, if we don’t utilize our internal and external resources we may not be able to even put one foot in front of the other each day.
As a mother, I often reflect on how I want my children to see that I handle change:
*Do I fight against the inevitable or do I try to flow with changes in life?
*Do I become so stuck in my routine that any change to the schedule throws me off?
*Do I show my kids how I embrace change, sometimes even finding humor and joy in the unexpected?
*When difficult changes happen, how do I seek and receive the support of others?
*How do I balance modeling my pain and grief with a mixture of adaptation, acceptance and hope for what lies ahead?
As we feel the transition to Fall, let’s consider how we can show our children that we handle the inevitability of change…