So schools have returned, or, for our family, just arrived, as our 4 year old son took his first step into “big school” this week. The week prior to this was interesting. My wife and I were, shall we say, emotional; a mixture of pride, incredulity (“how quickly has this come around…”) and of course anxiety… will he be ok, will he make new friends, will he stop winking at the teachers like his uncle James taught him to do! In reality it was absolutely fine, at least for him. He walked into the class, had a look around, then sat at the table with his new class mates to play dinosaurs and cars (my kind of learning!!).
It was immediately striking that all of the kids and all of the parents were pretty much clones of each other… the parents fraught with the same feelings as us but the kids taking it in their stride. It made me contemplate this for a while. Young children are so used to change, which is why they just take it in their stride. Many have moved from nursery to pre-school to big school in the space of 24 months, some may have moved house and location altogether, making countless new friends along the way… William certainly has a better social life that we do!
While it is often said that “children can be cruel”, this may come true at a certain age, but young children, brimming with innocence, are nothing but welcoming and accepting. And it’s not just kids of today, we were all the same once upon a time.
We can learn so much from our younger selves. If we looked at the world in the same way we would see that new experiences are an adventure, new challenges are exciting and give us a chance to learn something new and make new and interesting acquaintances. Embracing change is not always easy – as we get older we get used to stability and routine, the unknown is unnerving. If we are not careful, by the time we retire we’ll be so indoctrinated by routine that we won’t leave the house, let alone explore the world like we once dreamed of.
We understand the psychology behind helping people move through change, it’s what we do for a living. But what we can’t do is “make” people change – this comes from you, me, every one of us taking charge of our own emotions and decisions. So the next time a big change is round the corner, think like a four year old: take a big breath, take a big step and just take it in your stride… you’ll be amazed at what is waiting.