By Katy Kennedy, HKYFS.
This is the time of year that many of us feel the sense of urgency that can come with impending change. The temperature still says its summer, but there is something so subtle happening, it takes a little bit of effort to notice it.
For many families, school is on the top of the list of transitions to tackle. Whether you are the one going off to college, or now having panic attacks thinking about putting your wee little one on a bus for the first time, this time of year can bring up a lot of emotions.
Sometimes, it is that we are remembering our own school experiences — the good, and often hard times, that growing up brings to each one of us. Being a child in our times is complex, and I think I can most assuredly say that; our children navigate a complicated world of technology and expectations, an onslaught of information and pressures that even adults have a hard time balancing.
What to do in these complex times?
Our towns have undergone some real changes, and as I visit the schools, I am meeting welcoming administrators, teachers, carpenters, para professionals, parents and children alike — all with one goal: “Let’s have a great year.”
So, for me, an outsider stepping in, I am remarking to myself on the contagious energy I am getting from everywhere I visit. This isn’t to say that I am oblivious to the fact that there have been significant changes over the past year. I see that teachers, families, and administrations are working hard to understand what these changes will mean and how best to come together – regroup, prioritize, and step up.
And so, that is a fairly straight forward way to explain what it is that I do for a living. My work is to help people grapple with change, uncertainty, disappointment, as well as the big emotions of excitement, anticipation, and hope. Although we hear over and over all the endless quotes about how change is inevitable, less is said on exactly just how do we manage to deal best with change?
Self-reflection. Ask yourself, “How am I feeling about this particular thing that seems to be bothering me? What feeling is it bringing up? If the feelings are fear/anger/ resentment, do I need to be feeling like this? Or are these feelings I might be able to work with positively, so that I can transform those negative feelings into something more productive?” Perhaps there are changes in our lives happening that we really didn’t want to happen. What now?
Acceptance. Not a free pass to just give up/give in, but a chance to say, “OK, this isn’t what I wanted to see happen, but now that it’s here, I need to work with myself and others to see how best to deal with this for the long run.”
Action. Changes can bring about a feeling of powerlessness. A lack of control. A lack of voice. This is precisely when we need to dig down deep to find that voice, look for that action, that step we can take, to again, bring us a sense that not only are we participating, we are a part of doing something for the positive.
As the season begins to thrust us, unwittingly into transition, take some time for yourself to imagine the possible. Change can lead to something positive in your life.