I waved goodbye to yet another set of friends as my family moved from California to Virginia. It was the middle of my sophomore year in high school, and I was leaving my friends at Christmas. But we moved every few years, so I knew the secret:
Endings mark the beginning of new life stories about to unfold.
Even our saddest stories create fertile soil for new growth. We moved away from friendships we had cultivated. That was the end of that story. However, its ending meant new opportunities awaiting us in the next town. New people to know, new houses to buy, new cultures to learn about.
Change is the same way. We find out that we’re being downsized, or merged, or dissolved. Life seems bleak, dark, and we struggle to find our way. We’re sure that, this time, we’re not coming out the other side.
I remember the first day of first grade for my introverted son. He loved being home with me, and had no desire to go to school. We convinced him that everything would be fine and bribed him with new toys and candy (yes, I can admit it).
As we walked to his classroom that first day he looked around shyly, but seemed to be fine. That is until we quietly slipped out the door. As we walked down the hallway we heard the pitter-patter of tiny tennis shoes on the tile floor and felt his arms wrap around our waists. He burst into tears and begged us not to leave.
He couldn’t see the friends he was going to make. He didn’t know how much he would love recess. He wasn’t sure he’d like his teacher. The only thing we could do was, with tears in our eyes, lead him back to the classroom and make sure the door was shut behind us.
Even as adults, we resist movement by desperately grabbing hold of what has been, what we’ve loved, what we hope will never change.
But it does change. I will admit that all change is not positive (I use Facebook as an example), but it can always provide growth. In fact, some of my best lessons were learned from change that didn’t succeed.
If you’re leading others who are facing change, you need to do two things:
No return, movement forward. It works.