Post #2: Change is... Change

Change. Yesterday I was reading for my online class about the dynamics of curricular change in schools. The author explores the human response to change, arguing that there is an important connection between psychology and effective implementation of educational reforms. Though his writing is focused in educational contexts, the described psychological effects of change bear significant relevance in all aspects of our lives. He acknowledges that we have an inherent “conservative impulse”, or tendency to seek patterns in new situations. Identifying cause and finding meaning in the effect, he continues, are essential to a person's adaptability. Hence the easily understandable association between change and stress.

About change, he writes:

“Though we exalt it in principle, we oppose it in practice. Most of us resist it whenever it comes upon us. We dislike alterations in even our smallest daily routines, such as a highway improvement detour on our way to work, for example...”

So true, I thought as I was reading. Whether it’s the paint color of a living room or a new job, a change can be intimidating. Just ask my dad. He couldn’t bare it when I removed the carpeted wall-art d├ęcor from the stairwell, where it had been since the mid-1980s. He didn’t deny that it was an outdated piece of artwork, but that fact didn’t matter. What mattered was, for the first time in almost thirty years, as he turned the corner from garage entryway his eyes did not fall upon the textured orange, brown, and beige treescape. Discomfort, disarray, stress…. Even when change is positive, these are inevitably part of the experience.

And so, there I was, nodding in agreement at the author’s words. But then I continued reading…

“Change is neither natural nor normal, constant nor common. On the contrary, when we look at actual social behavior, we find that persistence is far more typical. (Nisbet, 1969, pp. 271). This is not to say that people and patterns never change; they do. But most of these changes are slow, incremental, often barely perceptible; they are rarely rapid, formal, or overt and they are almost never sought. We know that life requires us to adapt, and we sometimes long for a change in our circumstances or in the way others treat us, but for the most part we cling reflexively and tenaciously to things as they are (Evans, pp. 25).”

This is when it hit me. Despite the fact that my life fit into what Evans considers the rare case (normally, constantly, rapidly changing), I was not stressed. With the exception of the flight, there was nothing about the move to Wichita that stressed me out. One minute I was living my life in my hometown, and the next minute I was living almost exactly the same but in central standard time. The transition was flawless… but how?! For someone as traditionally high-stress as myself, how was this all so easy-to-handle?

The only explanation is that, as everything has been changing around me these last few years, I have been changing too. And my changes have been of the "slow, incremental, often barely perceptible" sort. I have learned to “go with the flow”, to accept it when I don’t have complete control. It’s not apathy, it’s adaptation. And thank goodness for adaptation. Without it, I’m not sure how I would be coping with yet another relocation, this time with a baby in tow. But here I am, doing just that. And it feels like nothing extraordinary, nothing to “write home about”. Which probably explains why I haven't been doing any writing... 

Regardless of how this might sound, I'm not bored. I guess I'm just.... comfortable(?). And, quite honestly, comfortable(?) is wonderful! It's not, however, good inspiration for blogging. So I guess I'll have to find my inspiration elsewhere. 

Evans, R. (1996). The Human Side of School Change. San Francisco, CA:Jossey-Bass Inc.

1 comment:

  1. How true, sweetie... you have adapted well!

    I would like to say, you have become more of a Regan in your attitude toward change. It's nice to watch how you and Kevin have grown alike and stronger as individuals... pushing each other toward a happy medium.