We are not the same persons this year as last; nor are those we love. It is a happy chance if we, changing, continue to love a changed person. ~W. Somerset Maugham
Michael, my 1990’s shopping companion was about to destroy another display at Cub. With a firm tone and muted growl in my voice, I said, “Michael, don’t touch that.” . The three year old looked up at me with a smile as wide as his face and a can of peas in his hand. In that split second my frustration faded. Although I had spoke those four words to him at least a million times prior, this time I saw it was my response that had to change, not only his behavior.
That little boy couldn’t resist touching everything. It was the way he experienced the world and everything in it. In the grocery store aisle Michael showed me his style of learning and that it was beyond his grasp to do it a different way. In many ways I was trying to reshape his makeup to be more like mine, neat and orderly instead of accepting the way he was created.
From that day on Michael showed me new ways, which helped me learn something about myself and then accept others things that were also, definitely not. what I preferred. Situations that often got messy and extremely complicated, especially with his rare disease.
I had to change.
The skills that Michael taught me flowed through my soul as I coped with my own illness, his untimely death and then the enormous grief, which followed. I discovered another level of accepting the statement, “It is what it is,” along with the extremes of unconditional love and learning what I was created to be.
Again, I had to change.
When we look at others, hoping for a change in their behavior or habits it almost always requires a look in the mirror and first asking what do I need to change? Life is a string of changing seasons that connects parents, children, family members and friends together. It’s important to hold each other loose; allowing changes to be directed by the creator and shaped into a better relationship, which prepares for the next season ahead.
I always thought I would teach my children the ways of the world and instead it was them anointed to teach me how to be the change my family needed. We don’t always get to choose our teachers. Many reside among us in life’s classroom, ready and able to show us a new way.
Stepping forward, I know there are more changes ahead, for all of us. Even at Cub when you hear, "Clean up in aisle five."
Be The Change!