Stress is the failure to accept change
Today I found my 7 year-old lying in bed crying. He was clutching his beloved Scalextric car and to my questioning look he pointed to the wheel. Oh no, I thought, now what?
I couldn’t see anything in particular, so he explains the lettering on the tires have worn off a bit. I honestly can’t see much detail without my glasses, but assuming he is right I give him a hug and try to quickly cheer him up with a – “well, never mind”. But he does mind. This is important – it’s his favourite car and now it is spoiled. I take a breath and give him a hug. “It’s what happens when you play with things a lot, they get worn away or broken.” I tell him, “ You know sometimes people selling an old item say that, instead of it being second-hand, the piece is “well-loved”. It’s been played with so much, it no longer looks brand new. You see- the love changes it, but it’s ok.” I see him thinking this over, considering perhaps, how that changes the situation. Slowly the clouds part and a glimmer of sunshine returns to his face.
I was reading Peter Russell today and his definition of stress came to mind: “Stress is the failure to accept change”. And there it was in action today – my son didn’t want this change in his toy and therefore, for a little while at least, he suffered. But I also considered my own reaction too- I didn’t want him to be sad and so I rather fobbed him off with a “well, never mind” to try and “fix” the situation. Only by me accepting that in this moment he had changed- that he was sad and wanted some love and attention, could we then move on. Stress is the failure to accept change, yes, and equally, when you love something and give it your full attention, sometimes changes just happen naturally.