April | 2015

Without change there is no innovation, creativity, or incentive for improvement. Those who initiate change will have a better opportunity to manage the change that is inevitable.
— William Pollard

WILLIAM 101:  CHOOSING CHANGE

This September, my 11 year old son William began 6th grade at the small progressive school he called his 'home away from home.' He has been a student there since 4 years old, when he began Pre-K.  He often, adamantly, proudly, proclaimed he would be one of the few who could call himself a 'lifer' at this school.  He only had three more years to go to graduate the 8th grade. 

However, within a couple of weeks after starting 6th grade, he began to question if it was still the right place for him. Actually, as his parents, we questioned his continuation at this school for a couple of years prior, but William's attachment and passion for his school quieted our own questioning.  

After a series of events and conversations, William, came to us expressing that he didn't 'want' to leave school, but he did in fact feel he needed something different from a school. He was longing for bigger classes, more arts programming, and a wider variety of experience. But still, it was clearly confusing and painful for him to experience the longing for something different, especially because his allegiance and love for 'his school' was so strong. Regardless, we all agreed that the very things that made this school perfect for him as a youngster, no longer served his growth today.  It was time to leave the nest. All this led to touring a few new schools to see what his options were.  There was one school that really made William lite up. And while he was now truly excited by this new opportunity, he still felt frozen and unsure of his decision. Both the idea of staying or going made him uneasy, uncomfortable and fearful.

I’ve been afraid every single day of my life, but I’ve gone ahead and done it anyway.
— Georgia O’Keefe

Most often, this is what change is really like. It's not as simple as choosing between good or bad, right or wrong. Sometimes we have to choose between two different kinds of discomfort in order to move forward with change. Thankfully, William decided to move forward even though he was afraid. And the vision of what he could grow into won over the familiar of staying with what he knew.  

I am humbled by the courage, clarity, strength, and wisdom my 11 year old exhibited in taking care of himself.  In making a decision to nourish and enhance his life. As a tween, it is nothing short of brave to leave something you know and love to enter a community where everyone already has their 'group'.

I am even happier to report, that now, 5 months later, he has grown in ways none of us could have imagined. He's taken advantage of so many new opportunities would have never presented themselves had he not leaped into change. And, most importantly he has learned to trust his inner voice, his gut feelings. He has learned to have faith that he can make difficult decision on his own behalf and navigate through change. And while this is a happy ending so far... the truth is, no matter how much time we spend 'thinking' about making the 'right' decision, we still don't really know how it's going to go. Change, is not always about making the right decision, but evolving and growing along with the flow of life itself.

“Faith is taking the first step even when you can’t see the whole staircase.”  - Martin 

Luther King Jr. 

Sometimes, we have to just jump, step up, move forward, instead of staying stuck in the fear of making the right or wrong decision.