"What am I going to do? I don't want to move. I didn't think they were serious. Everything is perfect here."
Tara had just hung up the phone after a call from her parents who couldn't wait to share the news that they just accepted a job overseas. The family would be moving in August. Tara's father, Jim had lived overseas as a child and was thrilled that his children would have the opportunity to experience the same type of adventures as he had. Jim and his wife Lisa were sure the children would be as excited as they were. After all, they had explored the possibility with them previously.
But when Jim and Lisa shared the news with their children there was nothing but silence on the other end of the phone. Finally, Tara blurted out, "Dad, do we have to go? This is my freshman year in high school. I just can't leave my friends. She was sobbing now. "I will be on the junior varsity basketball team and on the newspaper as well. How can you do this to me? It is so unfair!!!" Tara, crying and too devastated to continue, handed the phone to her brother Ethan, whose curiosity was now piqued.
"Where are we going?" he asked? "Wow!! Africa." His fifth grade enthusiasm came across the phone wires loud and clear. Questions poured forth fast and furiously. "Where is Eritrea? What can we do there? Are there elephants? Do the kids play sports? What language do they speak there? What kind of school is it?"
"Shut up!" Ethan. Tara grabbed the phone. Then, after angrily declaring that she would not be going with them, she hung up the phone.
Jim and Lisa were distressed. They were surprised by Tara's reaction and had hoped the whole family would embrace the impending change. When the confused and concerned parents arrived home, Ethan had already looked up the country on the internet to learn all he could about it. Tara, on the other hand, had locked herself in her room and refused to speak. After about forty-five minutes, she appeared. Her eyes red from crying, she demanded an explanation. "How can you do this to me? How can you expect me to have any kind of a social life? I like it here! Who needs to have an adventure? We will be half a world away. I am not going! "
What the family would have to come to grips with now was the difference in perception, reaction and need for change. Change is inevitable and our willingness to embrace it varies from person to person.
Ethan clearly shared the excitement of his parents. But for Tara change was frightening. In this chapter we will explore the stages of making transitions that will help us get from the old to the new or from the familiar to the unknown. The stages of change may sound familiar, as we have been living them even if we haven't ever thought about it.
Seven Stages of Change
1. Recognition & Reaction
3. Leaving the old
4. Initial excitement
5. The shock of reality
6. Settling in
7. Recognition & Reaction
No matter what kind of transition we are experiencing whether it is from changing jobs, to entering new relationships, or moving to another country we all must go through each of these stages.
1. Understand the process of change.
2. Recognize individual differences in learning to supporting change.
3. Use Creative Problem Solving to help plan for change.
4 Learn how to support others who may be in transition