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Navigating Change and Transition: Lessons from Autumn

Navigating change can bring many emotions amid tasks that may seem daunting. Change comes in both positive and negative forms. Positive change often energizes and stimulates us. We find new creativity and energy reserves to get what needs to be done.

Sitting down to navigate change and transition with lessons from autumn

On the other hand, change that we feel is negative will do the opposite. It may add sources of stress and emotional and personal conflict. We may find ourselves facing changing relationships or physical and financial circumstances.

Let’s consider our grandchildren in this process and seek lessons we can draw from the changing seasons to teach them about change and transition. Lessons from Autumn may seem like an unlikely place to talk about navigating change, but there are lessons in the process.

First, think about the glorious indicators of fall. Beautiful colors, wonderful smells, and comforting activities and foods.

Lesson—change has indicators and signs.

We can talk with our grandchildren about how to watch for signs of change in their young lives. Teach them about relationship indicators, both positive and negative. Teach them about landmark times when change is inevitable and how to anticipate some of what those landmarks might bring into their lives.

Here’s an example:

Becoming a driver is a landmark in most people’s youth. Being old enough to drive and gaining the freedom that comes with it is an exciting change. Signs will include new expectations from parents and the community. Safely navigating, driving, and maintaining a vehicle is part of the change. So many conversations and lessons to teach here, along with embracing the joy of the landmark.

Following the glory comes the barren and cold of winter. Even here, there are lessons that we can apply to navigating change. While the winter may seem bleak, within it, good things are happening.

The earth is resting. The trees are resting from a growth season. Soil is resting, and the nutrients from rotting leaves and leftovers of fall are being driven into the ground to replenish the land.

Lesson—what appears to be lifeless may only be a time of rest and restoration. The land needs it. Sometimes people need winter seasons too.

When change seems negative, we can often look deeper to find soul-level work being done. We are learning, we are healing, or we are discovering new strength with which to move forward. Internal work may be done that will bring a new season eventually.

As they age, we can teach our grandchildren about such seasons of change by focusing on the excellent work done during the bleak times of life. Just as the earth rests during the winter, we can experience seasons of rest and restoration. We may have times of solitude and soul-searching, times of ending old relationships and preparing to build new ones.

It’s OK.

It’s part of the human experience.

Just as the earth renews in the spring, so will we if we can focus during complex changes and find activities to strengthen who we are and rebuild.

Spring comes in due time. One of the most incredible things about fall is looking forward to spring's opposite season. The cycles of the earth are predictable and constant. While seasons vary in length and intensity from year to year, the seasons change with the calendar. We’ve lived the consistency and experienced the promise of seasonal change.

Lesson—life is a constant cycle of change we can count on, embrace, and create opportunity within.

As we live our lives in front of our grandchildren and teach them, we can instill confidence by talking about change—both good and challenging—in ways that ensure life goes on and they can endure ALL experiences.

Love of God, love of family, and love of self will help them navigate any change that comes in their life experience. We can talk about changes we’ve embraced, endured, and overcome.

Our experiences will give them courage in moments they need courage throughout their lives.

Will they recognize what you are sharing with them during the discussion?

Possibly not. That’s OK.

The human mind is a fantastic thing. How often, during a difficult situation, have the words of a loved one come back to mind for you? Encouraging words are like seeds planted that come to fruition in a future season. Give your grandchildren the gift of words of wisdom.

Don’t despair if it doesn't seem like they are listening.

Don’t be angry if you don’t feel like they’re not giving you proper attention when you’re talking about important life matters.

Keep planting seeds at opportune moments. Someday, when they are navigating a significant life change, they may have instant recall of something you said that positively changes their trajectory.

Words spoken by loving grandparents are blessings that may bear fruit many years later. As you tuck in for the winter, you may have opportunities for quiet times with grandchildren.

Cozy times in front of a fireplace, drinking hot chocolate...

Share words of hope and wisdom to help prepare them for the future. Use the seasons we experience as inhabitants of the earth as a framework for passing along life lessons.


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