THE MORE THINGS CHANGE...

"Progress is impossible without change; and those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything."
George Bernard Shaw
To some, it's a chair (remember Archie Bunker?), a side of the bed, or a driving route to work. Still others might typically order the same food from a particular restaurant, read the paper only on certain days in a specified order, and wear specific clothing long after it is stylish. It's a matter of remaining steadfast while steering your life through the winds of change. The winds of change: Sometimes a harbinger, an impending storm to test the mettle of your endurance; your flexibility. Why do people have difficulty coping with change?
Familiarity. Sometimes it also breeds content. You get into a routine that is predictable. This provides a measure of security, which can be comforting despite the fact that it may not be very pleasurable. Thus, you become complacent; and resistant to change. A defense typically offered for remaining the same is, "Things are working well as they are, why change?" Maybe you perform well at your job, your current wardrobe is good enough, the rotary phone works fine and call-waiting is the telephone-feature-from-Hell. You will do anything to avoid change: Make the "safe" response, react instead of taking even marginal risks, allay having to decide a variety of issues, and daydream or discuss something ad infinitum, rather than take action.
Change can be a difficult concept to accept. But in today's world, change is the only constant. If your company has decided to downsize or is sold to another, no matter how well you have mastered your current position, it behooves you to acquire the skills to meet the needs of the future, even if the future is a time-limited period such as, summertime.
Does this sound familiar? You wake up and inhale, get the kids off to school, go to work. Later, a pre-arranged individual meets the children at the bus and provides minimal care through the waning hours of the work day. Upon returning home, there are dinner plans, chores to accomplish, child-homework to supervise...and somewhere in that mix, some time reserved for a spouse, if one exists. Then you exhale and return to bed. Then it happens, summer! Filled with seemingly relentless energy, children descend upon their homes, the parks, malls, streets-- they are everywhere. And so are their parents' thoughts, as a predictable routine has now changed. What will occupy their time-- and who will supervise these activities-- now that one of the family stanchions has been removed for twelve weeks?
Finding change difficult, some people react by mobilizing change resistant strategies. Children are suddenly issued restrictive boundaries, "for their own good", such as remaining within their home and yard until a parent returns home, or socializing only with a select few others, according to the parent's criteria for some form of safety. Then there are those parents who avoid taking any action, their children being free to find something to do for the summer. To accept change, you need to change what change means by learning to have more choices. To have this change of heart:

  1. Reframe change without fear. Consider the idea that by trusting your judgment rather than fearing it, change can provide opportunity. Summer can also define a time for increased sharing and communication with your children, or an opportunity for them to learn through a variety of camps and agencies.
  2. Gamble on yourself. Decide to risk positive change before uncontrollable events force less-welcome changes upon you.

Todd, a five year-old preferred candy to breakfast. After a year of failed forced feedings-- because that was the only choice--his mother decided it was time she modified his behavior...rather than the reverse. During breakfast, several candies were placed across the table. If he finished he would be allowed to select three. However, for every minute he failed to place at least one spoonful of food in his mouth, one candy was removed from the pile, leaving him fewer from which to select. In no time, realizing his choices were going fast, he became a champion ofbreakfast.