Changes are inevitable, and as far back as you can track humans through time there has always been rapid change, but like most things in life it is not the change itself that is the most important thing – but how we respond and deal with it. If you think how children respond to change, compared with adults, there are many lessons to be learned. I have two kids: a seven-year-old boy Bear and five-year-old daughter Aria. Both of my kids respond to change differently. Bear reacts quickly and then follows up with an appropriate response after he has had time to correct himself. It’s quite funny. Aria rolls with change and goes with the flow. We think both responses are because we make change fun, we take it slowly and we make ‘getting it wrong’ OK in our house. As an adult we apply knowledge, often based on previous experiences, to a proposed change. We also view the change from all angles and project how we think something might pan out without the full advantage of facts, figures and experience. We weigh everything up, usually because we have to make decisions associated with the change – and that brings pressure.
Children keep it nice and simple. They tend to deal in the facts. They have a happy experience of change. They might also have had a few changes to deal with which gives them some practical understanding. Also – and this is key – they don’t usually have much say in changing circumstances and therefore they don’t have the pressure of making a bad decision or taking a wrong turn.
One of the most significant change experiences I have ever had was when I moved to Yorkshire. The people I met were beautiful, loving individuals, but a specific proportion/generation were very resistant to change. Their past experience of change resulted in unrest, uncertainty and concern, so naturally they continue to base their perceptions of change around this negative bias. So what can we do? Put simply, we need to think more like a child.
Think about how you would nurture a child and engage the child to embrace change:
· You start slow
· Control the controllable
· Work on being self-aware
· Be present in the moment
Meditation and mindfulness both help me to be present and respond better to change. Ultimately we are in control of how we respond to everything. Embrace it!