Mark Twain had it correct when he said, “The Only One Who Likes Change is a Wet Baby!” Now, some reading this may take issue with the statement. For, don’t some people like change? Yes, they do, but we must qualify that. If we believe that some people like change, we need to admit that those people do not like all change. It is easier for us to accept and even like change that we see as positive and that we think we can control. Unfortunately, there is much change outside of our control, and we all have changes occur that are not positive.
I am reminded of my husband Mike when thinking of this. Mike says that he thrives on change! I do not want to disagree with him, for he really does deal with change better than most people with whom I have had experience. Mike has dealt with many significant changes in the 35 years we have been together, and by no means have all of them been positive. Unlike some other people I know, Mike does not complain when changes occur that aren’t positive, or when things don’t go his way. He does not wallow around in misery, hoping things will improve. Instead, he gets to work on making better things happen. I respect him a lot for that quality.
But while I do believe that Mike deals with, and even likes, change more than the average person, what I think he really likes most about change is variety. Most likely Mike’s upbringing has a lot to do with this. His dad was in the military, so they relocated every eighteen to twenty-four months from the time he was born until he was an adolescent. As a result, Mike has difficulty answering one of the most common questions we all get to answer, “Where are you from?” I know some who are reading this share this common experience and understand completely. This experience certainly has something to do with how quickly and how well one deals with change. Although this example relates to change, it isn’t the whole story. And this blog post isn’t really about how Mike deals with change. It is about change in general. And it is about a baby, our family’s new baby!
Andrew Sebastian Kildosher was born on February 24th at 2:36 AM to our daughter Chatham and son-in-law Johnathan. He came into the world at 7 pounds 4 ounces and 21 inches long. And as you can surely see, he is beautiful! Our newest grandchild, Drew, is our first grandson. We have three precious granddaughters; soon to be thirteen-year-old Mary Grace, eleven-year-old Elsie, and five-year-old Virginia. And now we also have a precious grandson. All of these children are indeed a blessing.
Other than announcing our family’s new addition, what does this have to do with change? Well, quite a lot. Drew’s mom and dad have already learned that when Drew is wet, he cries, and when his wet diaper is changed, he stops crying! This newborn who is only a few days old is teaching us something. When we are uncomfortable, we cry, although maybe not literally. Just like our newborn grandson cries when he is uncomfortable.
As adults dealing with change, how do we react, or respond when we are uncomfortable? There are actually several responses or reactions we can experience when dealing with change that makes us uncomfortable. While the degree of our discomfort will affect our responses, other variables do as well. There are three frequent responses to change.
One possible response to change that we do not see as positive and/or that we cannot control is to avoid or ignore its reality. In essence, we hide our heads in the sand, hoping the unwanted change will go away. It rarely does. This response is often a passive response and can be subconscious. It is expressed as basically doing nothing about the circumstances we find ourselves in.
Another response is to try to bargain with the one we see in control of the change, such as God. This response is often the result of a crisis we find ourselves or our loved ones in. An example is in the case of a critically ill loved one, we may pray, “If you let her live, I will be more committed to my faith, go to church regularly, or…….” While the person verbalizing this may be quite sincere, once the crisis has abated, it is easy for the person to forget the pledge and revert back to their previous behaviors.
A third response to change is to accept it and to make its reality our reality. When denial and bargaining do not work, acceptance is the best option. Acceptance is an active response. Once we accept the reality of the change, even when it is unwanted, when we move with it, we often find that there is something positive about it. When we try to hold on to what has passed, we end up with nothing. We lose what we had and are not able to accept the new.
We have heard that the only constant is change. We are either moving forward or backward. Life is not static. We can choose to move with change or try to resist it.
Back to our wet baby, Drew. In just the few days he has been with us, he is no longer the same. Why should we try to be?