“Progress is impossible without change, and those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything.” (George Bernard Shaw)
I’ve been remarried five months now. And as a parent and stepparent, how grateful I am for progress and change!
Progress since the wedding day one child cried through the love song the bridegroom sang to the bride; progress since another child told the bride their life had ended, their world was ruined, because of one wedding—mine.
We newlyweds returned from our honeymoon and went to work trying to effect some change, our sights set on progress, as parents blending families.
For example, I hug my kids each day as they depart for school. I added all children in the household (despite their initial lack of enthusiasm) to this daily tradition. And for the most part, it has worked. Only one day did one child treat me rudely, flat out refuse contact with me and departed for school with an air of hostility. (But in his and my defense, I wasn’t the only person he treated rudely, so I didn’t take it personally. I gave him some space that day. In fact, I believe that is key to parenting AND stepparenting: don’t take things personally, refuse to get offended; give the child some space “that” day, and try again tomorrow!)
Cut to present. Said child left town for two weeks to visit out-of-state family members. Prior to his return, I sent him an email, told him I had missed him and that I had a huge hug waiting for him when he came home. He arrived home, I said his name, he smiled at me, walked from behind his suitcase and toward me, opened his arms and…hugged me!
Soon after, that same child spent time with other family members. I didn’t see him for a few days but the next time I saw him I said, “Hey! You haven’t seen me for a few days, do you have something for me?” Give him credit for being a quick learner. (Either that, or he has given in (aka. given up! haha!) to my traditions; he smiled and hugged me.)
So…hope. Always hope. Hope for change. And see how you can effect it. Even in one tiny little thing.
Work for change. Remember that it’s possible to change any thing, any situation, with effort, work and time. (Very handy to remember in the unexpected life when certain situations, like 2009, or a new life, or a new job, or a health challenge, or a financial adversity, or taking on a new family would be overwhelming if you thought they were permanent!)
Look for progress. Seek to be positive and look for the good. Recognize every little baby step forward and be grateful for it—just don’t be surprised by the attendant slide backward despite the progress, either. It happens.
Keep your eye on the distant, long-term goal and don’t let yourself get overwhelmed by every single aspect and occurence of the journey required to get there!
Because, “If you’re walking down the right path and you’re willing to keep walking, eventually you’ll make progress.” (Barack Obama)
Especially in the unexpected life.