Thursday, January 31, 2008
Dealing with change
How well do you roll with the punches? Do you see fun, new challenges and adventure behind every change or are you one of those people that resist change with all your might?
I've never been an adventureous person, and change was never a strong point with me. I like knowing what's ahead, and I like knowing what to expect. I don't like any variations from the routine because then I'm afraid something will get missed. It won't get done and life as we know it with be altered forever.
That was before I got married. I didn't realize it at the time, but I married Indiana Jones. Adventure is his middle name. Last minute adjustments to the schedule were something to be expected. Dealing with details at the last minute--or not at all--not a reason to panic. Things were still accomplished. Life continued. He takes all that in stride. Shoot, he creates most of all that change!
I've said before that being married to my husband is like watching him dive out of a plane. I grab onto his shoelace and plummet after him screaming, "Wait! We don't have a parachute!" Quite a shock for a non-change embracing person like me. I have learned to be a little more flexible, though. After twenty-one and a half years of marriage, I've learned to accept most changes. Most of them won't hurt me, life truly does continue, and I will not die if my schedule is skewed a little at the last minute. That still doesn't mean I find changes comfortable. I don't usually hit the ground running after a (figurative) jump out of the airplane. I'll roll a few times and then lay there, taking stock. I stare at the vanishing plane thinking, "I can't believe he did that! I don't want to be here. I want back on the plane!" Then I grumble that, if he'd warned me we were jumping, I could have at least gotten our parachutes and packed a lunch for the trip. After all, it never hurts to be prepared. Then I start realizing how much the landing hurt. I whimper and nurse my bruises, all the while aggravated that he never even seemed to notice how close we came to death. (Or at least to discomfort.) Then I finally sit up and look around, taking note of how beautiful it is here where we've landed. I grudgingly admit it's probably better than it was on the plane. Then I excitedly jump up, eager to embrace the adventure ahead. Only then do I realize my husband broke his ankle on landing, and we're stuck for the next six weeks in rehab. LOL
So I'm still not so good at adjusting to change. But I still try to accept small changes without acting as though my life has been altered forever. It is funny how many people can't take any change at all, though. For instance, today I rearranged the desks in my sixth grade classroom. Some of the students weren't getting the full advantage of class in their original locations (i.e. they paid no attention and goofed off a lot) and some students tended to disrupt the others around them. So I announced that I was rearranging the seating. They were all thrilled until they found out they had no choice in where they relocated. I told them some will hate their new seats and some will love them. There were even some that weren't changing location at all. When we finally finished and everyone was sitting in their new spot, one thing became totally clear. I had managed to upset every child in the class. No one was where they wanted to be. No one liked their new seatmate. I told them I would accept no complaining. Their new locations were for the good of themselves and for the good of the class.
The other teachers are betting it takes months before the students automatically go to their new desks instead of their old ones. The kids also complain that the new seating messes up their speed drills in math class as well. I'm sure they'll get over it. No one died over the change. Some of them will eventually embrace their new location. After all, it's not like I asked them to jump out of a plane!
Posted by Jill at 3:13 PM