Transition is all hard… No, it’s not
Photo by Kayla Varley
To help you hit a home run with your parent training this year, the Fuller Youth Institute is debuting the DVD release of the new Sticky Faith Family Training five-session video curriculum. In fact, throughout the month of August we are offering resources, blog posts, and practical tips for parents to help develop lasting faith in their kids. Stay up to date by following us on Twitter and Facebook. Follow the conversation #stickyfaithfamily.
This summer my family made an epic move from a community we adored in Southern California to be close to our extended families in Northern Indiana. Truly epic. We have three little kids (ages 7, 5, 3), which only complicated and intensified our cross-country trek.
In the span of a few weeks, we sold a house, drove 2300 miles, moved into a new house, painted every wall, completed some house projects, and unpacked a billion boxes. Meanwhile, my husband started a demanding job, I took a couple of work trips, and our kids were struggling every day to adjust.
It was a lot.
I am a leader who loves change and transitions. At least I thought I did. This transition has kicked my butt. I’ve failed more than I’ve succeeded at “doing this well.” Most days I feel like it requires all my energy to keep my own head above water, much less walk my little ones through this hard season.
I have been made aware (again) that change can mean loss and change can meet a longing. It’s not an either/or. It’s both. Change and transition provide opportunities for growth, transformation, expanding muscles, and deepening self-awareness and compassion.
As your kids make transitions this year—big ones or small ones—here are a few practices that are helping my family through our transition:
Acknowledge the hard. It has made a hard day a little less hard when I’ve vulnerably connected with a trusted person in my life. Verbalizing what is difficult, uncomfortable, and challenging in transition is important. It takes some of the power out of the “hard” and gives strength to face the next challenge.
Say “me, too.” When my kids have expressed their loss, I have learned to respond with “me, too”. People process transitions differently. Transition exposes latent fears, insecurities, and grief. Giving kids the space to verbalize what’s hard for them and validating it with “me, too” goes a long way to help kids find their equilibrium again.
Look for little lights. I was commiserating with a mentor and passionately blurted out, “everything is so hard!” Before I could utter another breath, with strength and grace in her voice she responded, “No, it’s not. Not everything is hard.” She encouraged me to take notice of where little lights were all over our new life: the way the sun set behind the giant tree in my backyard around 9pm, the new window treatments in my bedroom, the giggles of my kids playing on the slip ‘n slide, licking watermelon popsicles on a hot afternoon. There are little gifts that our good Father desperately wants us to receive daily, even in hard transitions. Finding those lights fans the flames of gratitude and gives hope that eventually we’ll find a new normal … together.
New mercies every moment. Lamentations promises God will give new mercies every morning. Frankly, I need them more often than that. In transitions we need new mercies about every other second. As our kids transition from “what was” to “what’s now,” let’s be flag-bearers that God is with us. God is giving us what we need right now, and will give us what we need every moment after that.
What practices help you and the kids in your life make it through transitions? After all, we don’t want to waste these transitions by simply surviving. We want to become more of who we’ve been created to be.
May the God who doesn’t waste a single thing show himself to us more in this season of transition.