Often times when we think of changes we want to make in our lives we imagine dramatic transformations like strict obedience to workout regimens, major reorganization in diets or huge shifts in the way we parent. However- thinking about change in this way often makes it feel overwhelming.
In working with families I’ve learnt that dramatic change- whether I think it’s needed or not- doesn’t often work out. I’ve been lucky to share space in thousands of families lives over the years and within that invitation have been lucky to observe or be part of some huge changes. None of them started out as a major change though. All of them started with a small change.
I remember hearing a story years ago about a train arriving at a station it wasn’t meant to be at. When the route was reviewed it was discovered that a switch had accidentally been engaged hundreds of miles earlier. The switch was small, taking up only a few feet of track and worked through a simple mechanical mechanism. However, because of this small shift, the cargo was now hundreds of miles from its desired destination.
If the first rung on the ladder is unreachable the ladder wont be climbed- however many small steps often lead to great heights.
Our lives can be a bit like this. Over time a small shift can yield dramatic results. Healthy eating starts with one meal. Changes in fitness or strength begin with simple movement. Changes in parenting can begin with one interaction. Changing how we respond to or view our children in one small way can dramatically shift our trajectory.
There are millions of small changes we can decide to make. Here is example of a simple change that could have a huge difference over time and starts with one interaction.
Next time you provide a corrective response to a child take a moment to pause and imagine the experience of the child. Try to guess what emotion is at the core of how they are acting. Might it be fear? Sadness? Helplessness? Self blame? - what is at the root? Take a few seconds and try to guess- and then respond.
Small change- huge trajectory shift. Remember: if nothing changes then nothing will change. If you want something different you have to do something different. We pass many crossroads every day where we can choose to do the same or do something different. If things are working than it would make sense to continue doing it. If not- this is a where finding a small step in a different direction might be helpful.