Whenever I face change, I think of the old willow tree.
The big weeping willow that sat on the edge of the bay in front of my childhood home was where I would go to sort through my feelings, and maybe shed some private tears. It’s actually a bit funny because I was not very emotional as a kid. Being raised with only brothers, I was a tough little tomboy, but change did something to me. Whether it was the changing of seasons, or the changing of friends, new school year, or an old crush, change of almost any kind would bring on a stirring in my soul. And there you could find me, under the old willow tree.
Now that I’m all grown up, and living thousands of miles from that old willow tree, I still have a funny relationship with change. Here in Hawaii, I no longer experience the falling leaves or any obvious signs of changing seasons, but I do find myself extra thoughtful as we end a school year, head into the holidays, or wrap up summer and look ahead to what’s next.
I still believe that taking some time to reflect on the old and ponder the new is healthy and good. I also think our kids are more affected by change than we often realize, so it’s wise to talk to them about it, and give them some space to process change as well.
Here are two steps that are helpful as you face change of any kind, and equip your kids to process change as well:
- Dedicate a little time and space to your transitions. Maybe as part of your morning devotions, or during a quiet afternoon tea, take some time to process your change, and journal or jot notes. You might write down a few favorite memories from the past season, or prayers related to something that happened. If there are loose ends to tie up (that thank you note you’ve been meaning to send or those photos that still need to be downloaded!) writing them down will take them off your shoulders and help you to organize them. Finally, you can pray over the list and anything on your mind related to the past or the future, giving all of your cares freely to the Lord. You’ll find a tremendous peace then, because a heart fully committed is a heart fully contented.
- Equip your kids for the changes they are facing. Whether it is a new season, a move, a loss or a gain, talk to your kids about it! No doubt they’ve already been feeling it, so talking about it will help them more easily process what is going on. Maybe everyone can share about their favorite thing that happened during the last season. Maybe there is some disappointment over a goal that wasn’t reached. This is a time to reflect, be thankful, and even jot some notes about the the last season. THEN, talk to the kids about what is coming next! Talk about the changes in schedule, and make some plans for how this will look for each of them. Tune in to their cares or concerns, and teach them to pray and journal as they work through their own feelings. Equipping your kids to handle change equips them for a positive future.
Verses to remember:
Ecclesiastes 3:1 “To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven”
Proverbs 16:3: “Commit to the LORD whatever you do, and he will establish your plans.”