Thursday, August 9, 2012

Leading Your Family Through Change

They say that the only constant is change and the last couple of months have been absolutely crazy in our home!  To wit:

1.  My son, PFC Ben Pollhein, graduated his Army Advanced Individual Training as a Combat Photographer and came home for 10 days of leave
2.  My son James had his High School graduation week and graduation
3.  James, now also a PFC, then had a week of Summer vacation and then shipped off to Army Basic Combat Training
4.  My son Matt headed off to a week of Scout Camp
5.  James, Matt and I spent a few days painting a large portion of our old Victorian home
6.  Matt, Joe, and I led a 50-mile, week long canoe trip with 6 other scouts and leaders.

They say stress is brought on by changes...changes both great and small.  When many changes occur, there is often a very large disturbance in the harmony of the family.  Everyone must process change in their own way.  Being aware that change causes stress and that it can be very upsetting is critical to you as the leader of your family.  

We have been processing the changes in our home individually.  The house is much quieter now...with Matt still away at camp, Joey working every day, and Ben and James in the care of Uncle Sam.  Gillian is babysitting now, and trying to train her puppy.  Terri is rearranging things and wanting to go "do stuff.". "Stuff" like canoeing and making plans to visit friends and family.  I am heading back to Colombia, South America to do more consulting work.  When I return next week, Matt, Joey and I will be leading a week-long 50-Mile Canoe Trip with Matt's Scout Troop.  And the activity in our family continues, each of us knowing that even though many things have changed, our lives will move on in new directions with different things taking priority.  Through all of it, we will be strong as a family because we love each other.  As two of our sons serve their country, we will remain close to them and watch them grow and mature in their new roles.

As the leader of your family, know that whatever changes your family might experience, they will look to you to lead them through.  Listen and give guidance.  Take time to discuss the changes one-on-one with your individual family members.  Focus on the whole, but don't forget that spending time with each individual is also important.  Do things together....Most of our cherished memories are of doing something fun or exciting together.  And at the end of the day, remember to set aside some time for yourself.

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