Saturday, August 2, 2014

Embracing Change

This week I was called to reflect upon a word that has undoubtedly affected each of us. This word, often bringing bittersweet feelings, is CHANGE.  As I watched the Detroit Tigers play Thursday afternoon with my six-year-old son, David, I realized the effect change can have on all ages of people.
My son has become enthralled with the Detroit Tigers this season, watching every possible game, learning stats, and acting out his own game scenarios in the backyard. Therefore, when my husband called him just minutes before the official word telling of a potential trade for David Price, I knew we were in for many mixed emotions.
At first, my son became excited because he knew the potential David Price would bring to his favorite team. Nevertheless, in that same instant, his smile faded. He whispered, “I hope they don’t trade someone I like…” Literally, 30 seconds later, he noticed Jackson being called from his familiar center field position. The floodgates opened. Tears started falling. “Not Jackson…I don’t want him to go!” David cried. It was heartbreaking to watch him realize what was happening. Change was about to happen, and he wasn’t sure he was ready for it.
The night continued to progress with random tears every time he thought about the trade or someone mentioned it on tv. He even asked to watch a DVR’d game from 2011 because Jackson was playing in it.  Now, he knows enough about baseball to know the Tigers had to make the move because it was the best thing for the team, but it didn’t make losing Jackson any easier for him.
When I realized what was happening to my innocent six-year-old, I started thinking about all the times I have been asked to make a “change”, especially in my profession. As an educator, we are constantly being asked to adjust to changes in legislation, changes in teaching standards, changes in assessment and evaluation, changes in technology, etc.
Most times, I feel I embrace change pretty well, especially if I can see the benefit for my students. However, when these ideas are presented at staff meetings, it doesn’t always go well. Regardless of the profession, I am sure we can recall times when colleagues (or ourselves) have been resistant to a new idea presented. I have heard everything from, “Why change something that works!” to “Oh great, this will never work. We tried the same thing ten years ago.” The list continues.
We are all resistant to change, especially if what we are doing seems to be working. But, like the Detroit Tigers, why aren’t we always looking for ways to CHANGE to make ourselves or our own professional teams better?  Sometimes we don’t want to give up something we have done forever, or learn a new program, or study the latest techniques being implemented in our profession. However, if we really challenge ourselves, we will most likely find that a change could bring out something positive. And even if it doesn’t, we won’t know unless we try. If we maintain status quo, we can’t get better or worse. Why not try to get better.
My son learned this valuable lesson by the time Friday morning came along. While he still misses Jackson and wants to attend every Detroit/Seattle game played in Detroit, he understands that the change had to happen.  
I learn more lessons from my children than I ever thought possible. This story is no exception. While I don’t cry and become emotionally distraught every time a change is about to take place, I have complained about potential downfalls that could happen. Sometimes I dwell on these downfalls. If my six-year-old can recognize the importance of change in a 12-hour time frame, why can’t I? I need to think about the positives that can come from situations, because without change, we will never know if things can improve. Embrace change when necessary. Learn from the past, grow for the future.