Thursday, August 22, 2013

"When It's Time to Change..." Wisdom from The Brady Bunch



As a young child, I couldn’t get enough of The Brady Bunch.  From that half hour per week, I learned about blended families, sibling rivalry, middle child syndrome, respecting people we hire in our homes and the importance of family.  I learned that 6 children can share one bathroom and, much to my delight, the eldest child is in fact entitled to the room in the attic.  There was, however, one lesson from one episode that was so beyond my level of maturity that it took years for me to fully grasp it.  That episode contains the lesson that I wish we could bottle and give to our children.  

Picture it – the family has an opportunity to record a song and Peter’s voice starts to change.  He has no control over this symptom of puberty but he certainly can’t sing on a record like that.  Greg wants to exclude him but their parents convince them to change the song rather than leave Peter out.  And so they sing those iconic words written by Raymond Bloodworth, Billy Meshel and Chris Welch:

When it's time to change, then it’s time to change
Don't fight the tide, come along for the ride, don't you see
When it's time to change, you've got to rearrange
who you are into what you're gonna be.

Change is hard.  It is hard to systematically let go of your children and adapt to their increasing independence as you take the journey from that first day of kindergarten to the first day of moving to a college dorm.  It is hard to work for a new boss, change jobs, move, change marital status and watch friends & family come and go.  Change is hard basically for two reasons – we have fear and a skewed sense of identity.  The unknown is scary but, more importantly, how we define ourselves is more wrapped up in what we do rather than who we are.  I am a wife, working mom, daughter, sister and aunt.  I am a Reform Jew and Director of Schools at Temple Shalom in Aberdeen, NJ.  I am a blogger, writer, speaker and workshop facilitator.  To change any of those labels means changing my description of myself.  It means redefining me.  It seems like a daunting task but I haven’t always been those things.  I wasn’t always a wife, working mom or even a Reform Jew.  I grew up in the Conservative movement and made the conscious decision as an adult to raise my family in the Reform movement.  If I started out one way but now am another, why is it so hard to continue to change?  It is hard when we define ourselves the wrong way.  I do all the things listed but people have also described me as intelligent, insightful, optimistic, strong willed, compassionate and driven.  Those are the basic characteristics that will more likely stay with me as life changes in ways that are and are not beyond my control.  Change is hard but while one thing changes, I take my intelligence and strong personality with me.  You just apply who you are differently when you “rearrange who you are into what you're gonna be.”

As you watch your child go to kindergarten or leave for college, your role changes but you are still you. You can find other ways to use your talents.  We can teach our children that life changes but so much of the positive in them can stay or even become more of an asset.  Instead of having our children identify themselves as what they do, we should dig deeper and help them to see the good in who they are.  When children identify themselves as caring, smart, thoughtful, funny, athletic…. perhaps changing what they do can be less traumatic.   Yes, they may play soccer or dance or be the smartest person in the class but all of that will change.  Eventually, they will grow, have families, careers and even encounter people who are more intelligent.  Wouldn’t it be nice if they could transition easier by knowing that change doesn’t mean that they lose the best parts of themselves?  Change means taking your best self and “rearranging.”                      
      

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Read this blog for more articles.  Ask your parenting & education questions and learn about early childhood workshops for parents & educators on my website - www.helpingkidsachieve.com
                                                      
Copyright 2013 © Cindy Terebush
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