English Sandy Koop Special Column

Do You See “Change” a Friend or Enemy?(Part 1)

Here is a challenging riddle for you. Look around you. What one thing do they all have in common? 

The weather, your child, your job, your new puppy or kitten. Look in the mirror. Your face is doing it. Listen to the news. It is full of it. Try sports, fashion, entertainment & bank interest rates, taxes, and Covid-19. They do this daily.

 Do you have the answer to this riddle yet?

Yes, you are correct. They all change. Change involves making something different from the way it is now. It could be different in form, nature, content, the way it looks, or its use, etc.

Try this fun activity. Make a list of all the changes you have experienced just this week. You might be surprised at the number of changes you have seen. 

Examples: day turned into night; summer is turning into fall; your tiny baby is now riding a bike and going to school; your best friend just moved to another state; you have a headache today; you notice more gray hairs and a ton of wrinkles on your face and neck; the news reports of more crime in your city and so on. 

How many changes did your write down? Were you surprised at the total score?

What is the point you ask? Everything changes, we all know that. 

Ah, yes, but the point is how do you cope with change? True, change is as inevitable as death and taxes. No one escapes dying or paying his/her taxes.

How do we live with change? Is it a friend or an enemy? 

If we think of change as our enemy, we will be vulnerable to physical, social, and emotional problems. Fighting against change can cause stress in our physical bodies. Most of our diseases are stress related, from high blood pressure to insomnia. Stress robs us of our emotional strength. We struggle with depression, self-doubt, anxiety, and low self-esteem. Stress between friends or family can fracture the relationship, leading to loneliness, separation, or divorce. Loud angry arguments fill the atmosphere of the home. This negativity spills over into the school room for the kids. Ever try to study for a spelling test while you hear your parents or siblings yelling at each other in another room?

However, if we think of change as a friend, we give ourselves the opportunity to grow in positive ways: emotionally, socially, mentally, culturally, academically, and spiritually. Yes, changing our selves is difficult, but the result is worthwhile. 

Take for example, the birth of a butterfly.

The story starts out with a caterpillar exploring his environment searching for food (leaves). If we saw one, most of us would shriek,” EEK! It is so ugly.” You would be correct. Most caterpillars are rather ugly. The more they eat, the fatter and uglier they get. When winter comes, the ugly, fat caterpillar weaves a silken cocoon all around his body. He/She sleeps through the whole frigid winter. In the spring, the warmth of the sun awakens the creature. He cannot wait to get into the sunshine and eat! Caterpillar chews his way out of the silken cocoon to bask in the sun. Only he is no longer fat and ugly, he has been transformed into a beautiful, flying butterfly. Now he can soar above the flowers and grass instead of creep along in the dirt. He can fly! The stress of metamorphosis (the name of this process) has turned an ugly caterpillar into a beautiful butterfly. That is what treating stress as a friend can do.

Friend or enemy? Change can be either one. It all depends on your mindset and choice. Wait a minute! Change can be either good and pleasant or bad and painful. What do we do with painful changes? That depends. 

Depends on what? you ask. How much power over the change do you have? Some changes are beyond our control; others can be molded.

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