We have a saying in my line of work, corporate training; it goes “we teach what we most need to learn.”
And this week, as I prepare to offer a training class on CHANGE MANAGEMENT for a local municipal client, I am aware of the changes all around me, and how much I need to keep in mind the challenges that this can cause.
I recently marked the four-year anniversary of moving my father from Florida to Colorado, a huge change for us both. And while there’s something truly special about being able to have my dad nearby, to care for him and tend to his needs…WOW, what a change. After living far apart for nearly 30 years, it’s quite an adjustment to have my dad in my daily life.
To be fair, the rapid change for my father is certainly even greater than what I’ve experienced; in the last five years he gave a divorce to his third wife, was diagnosed with mixed dementia, left and sold his fancy Florida home, moved to Colorado and into Independent Living in a senior community, then went to a rehab center for 12 weeks, moved into Assisted Living and back to Skilled Nursing in less than eight months, and has been using only a wheelchair for most of the last year. That’s where my father finds himself now; the man who once was in charge of so much, has given over his affairs to others. And that may be the biggest change of all.
I have also experienced and witnessed a lot of change with my son. A month ago he turned 14, and along with the obvious physical adjustments – he’s taller, hairier, his voice deeper, and his appetite greater – my son’s life is also becoming more private, more his own, and that’s a change for all of us. Once the source of support on schoolwork and most other matters, his mom and I now often hear the reply “Don’t worry, I’ve got it…” when we ask after his homework and other sorts of stuff. He seems to be adjusting well, keeping up with commitments while remaining pretty pleasant and positive. And the change from boy to teenager is probably taking more time for his parents to get used to.
There’s another saying among those of us who educate adults: “The student is the best teacher.” And where the topic of change is concerned that’s certainly been true for me. I am grateful to be learning lessons from both my father and my son, lessons I’ll be passing along to my corporate clients later this week when I teach a class about managing change.
…and that’s the full-circle fatherhood report for this week.
BONUS SONG: CHANGES by David Bowie