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This page contains resources pertaining to Teacher Education, Parent Education and School Promotion. The site is used by educators from more than 60 countries and averages about 1800 views per month.

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Thursday, January 10, 2008

Change

Change has a considerable psychological impact on the human mind. To the fearful it is threatening because it means that things may get worse. To the hopeful it is encouraging because things may get better. To the confident it is inspiring because the challenge exists to make things better.
- King Whitney Jr.

Often when we experience change we manage to feel all of these things in a mixed and confusing mass. Few of us are able to see clearly the light at the end of the tunnel when we are in the throes of a difficult change. Consequently, change is hard and often somewhat frightening. So true for our children. Yet, hopefully we have enough experience to know that change is good and offers much promise.

At times it seems that our culture currently suggests that children should experience little or no discomfort in growing up. “Why should they have to struggle or suffer? They have a lifetime of this ahead of them.” It is exactly that lifetime ahead of them which suggests the need for them to experience change, and the stress that often accompanies it. In helping our children learn to accept and even embrace change,

it is important for each of us to look at ourselves and how we feel about change. Which of the three categories do you fit in? Fearful, hopeful, or confident? When we feel fearful for our children or practice the need to protect them from the discomfort of their choices, we project upon them the state of fear surrounding change. And really, the life of a child is by definition perpetual change. He is
striving each day to become more independent. He is in constant
change.

So how do we as adults facilitate the growth and feelings surrounding these constant changes? We look for every opportunity to allow the child to fully understand the impact of his choices. It is only through experiencing the results of his choices that a child truly makes strides in his effort to become independent – in other words, to grow up.

The obvious next question is: “What are these opportunities?” The truth is that they are present at most any moment: Let a child forget to bring his lunch and work out a solution on his own at school. And then watch him remember it on his own the next day.

Let him get to the store without bringing his allowance along to buy what he wanted. And then watch him leave his money out on the counter the night before the next trip to the store so he won’t forget it again.

Let him leave his chores until the last moment and then have to miss the party. And then watch him initiate his chores on his own the following weekend.

Let him be unpleasant to his guest and then feel disappointed when you take the guest home, etc.

The opportunities are endless. But the right and wrong decisions have to be made by the child. And then the consequences must follow. Not just bad consequences. But good as well. The lunch remembered on his own. The allowance in a special place. The chores completed before the last minute.

It is not our words which lead children to understand what their choices mean. Only direct experience with life will allow them to “grow up,” rather than just get older.

Download the full pdf file here: change_v12.pdf

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