Why Does Change Cause Problems?

Today, I have the great honor of speaking to our Eighth grade students as part of their “Last Lecture” series run by Anne Bergmann, Gina Doane, and Lisa MacDonald.  Monthly, they ask a member of the school community to speak to their students in the format of a “Last Lecture” to try to impart some wisdom upon the students.

My charge today is to speak to these students about the idea of change: how it affects us, how it changes us, how we respond to it, and most importantly, how we make it.  I’ve invited the students here to discuss their answers to the question “How does a big change in your life make you feel?”

This post is open to any and all to respond to, but I’d love for the students and their teachers to drop in their views.

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18 thoughts on “Why Does Change Cause Problems?

  1. Change is hard and troubling, but very often it is beautiful too. I might be a little strange, but I’ve always liked the idea of what change does for us as human beings. In the face of adversity, we often find the best parts of who we are. Granted, I’m not wild about change being forced upon me, but I find a way to adapt even in those moments. My most profound changes have occurred when I’ve been inspired to change myself for the better. I’m a worrier, and I have made a concerted effort to change that. I’ve taken up things like yoga, meditative writing, and acupuncture to work on some of that. I haven’t fully changed yet, but I’m working on it, and that brings me a lot of hope and a little less worry.

    My husband has changed me in wonderful ways. Before I met him, I always said that I respected people who were different than I am, but the truth is I spent a lot of time with people just like me. He is incredibly different than I am and has profoundly changed the person I am. He helps me see the world through a different lens and gives me a fresh perspective on people who are not like me at all. He has made me not only a better person but a better teacher too.

    The thing I have struggled with the most as an adult is that our relationships with friends and family are constantly changing because we are in people in flux. Sometimes we find stronger connections and sometimes they grow weaker. As I change and as the people in my life change, I am working on embracing the people we are becoming. Instead of holding on to who we used to be, I’m looking forward to getting to know the people we are morphing into.

    I have a favorite quote that gets me through a lot of difficult moments that surround change: “Just when the caterpillar thought the world was over, it became a butterfly”. I’m looking forward to getting my wings someday 🙂

    A special thanks to Mr. Higgins for inspiring our eighth graders today at GCMS. We appreciate your bravery and your generosity of time and spirit.

    1. Gina,

      Thanks for responding, and I have to say that in reading what you wrote, I realized I could have echoed much of what you said in my presentation on Friday, especially in regards to having people in your life that help you see the world through different lenses. After meeting my wife, my perspective on so many things was altered and challenged. Having that person in my life sharpens me, keeps me honest, and at the same time makes me feel unbelievably fortunate.

      Running has always been my way of dealing with any kind of anxiety or stress. Since I was a kid, solutions to problems much bigger than I felt I could handle were often hashed out in my head during a run through the woods or along the country roads where I grew up. No headphones, no distractions–nothing to interrupt the free thought. I don’t know if there is science behind the method, I only know that on more than one occasion, I return from the trip with either the solution to the problem or an outlook that carries me through it.

      I truly felt honored to be able to speak to your students and share with them my limited understanding of how to adapt to the world when it turns upside down, or you want to turn it upside down. I’ve been reading through the response from the students on the wiki, and I am, as you said I would be, blown away by their honesty and willingness to share their reflections.

  2. A couple months ago, I decided to redirect my life in a new direction. I had found a wonderful town and a wonderful school, but I felt ready to journey out. As Mr. Higgins reflected in his speech, “you are always looking for your next adventure.” Though I was very happy in my rural country town, I took a chance and accepted a teaching position in a new town, Caldwell- West Caldwell.

    I picked up, moved down here, and began graduate school at Caldwell College. So far, I am confident to say this was a risk worth making. I have met very insightful individuals; their influence and knowledge have already taught me new strategies for the classroom.

    Though moving to a new town and starting a new job was a transition, I feel excited for what my journey will continue to bring. At 23, anything is possible. I feel fortunate enough to have been in the classroom, teaching, the past three full years. Change is yet to come, and I embrace the experiences that are yet before me.

    On behalf of the students, they truly enjoyed your speech. Some comments today included, “He was so personable.” “He really went through a lot of experiences, and I’m glad he was able to recognize that change isn’t a bad thing.” and “His kids are so cute!” You truly set a path of inspiration for them; whether it be on a large scale or if you simply planted a seed, the students will remember your words of wisdom. Thanks again for inspiring the minds of our students. 🙂

    1. Hi Lisa,

      Thank you for your kind words, and for sharing your own story of how you chose to make significant change in your life. Growing up near where you did, I know how hard it is to leave such a beautiful and quiet place (I tried to leave, but I went back!), but you took the first step and that’s the most arduous.

      I’ve always found that learning requires speaking, and teaching requires listening, so being in front of your students, and those of Mrs. Doane’s and Ms. Bergman’s allowed me the chance to do a lot of learning myself. Preparing for that forty-minutes required that I travel back in time and really think about the elements of my life that are worth telling, and especially, those that I feel shaped me. Now, through the comments the students are leaving here, and on Mrs. Doane’s wiki, I can get a chance to listen and use that to teach others in the future.

      Thanks again for a great day!

  3. If you hadn’t gone to the private school for highschool and you had stayed with all your friends in public school, how do you think your life would have changed? Do you think you would be where you are now?

  4. Thanks for coming in to speak with us on Friday! You taught me how to always make the better choice for yourself, and to go for things in life.

  5. Mr. Higgins thanks for coming in and talking to our class you taught me that even though change happens it is not always a bad thing and that it can help you get to a place in your life. Thanks again!

  6. thank you for visiting our school and talking about change. I really enjoyed your life story and i thought it was interesting how you left the country right after college. Thank you and i learned a lot from your presentation.

  7. Thank you for coming to our class to speak with us. You have made think about if I want to go to a private school just like my brother. Thanks again!

  8. Im glad you came in to speak to our class.It was a great presentation and i really enjoyed it. Great job, and thank you!

  9. Hi Mr. Higgins, I wanted to thank you for coming in to our school and sacrificing that time to come in and talk to us. I think your story about being in Greece was inspirational. You have motivated me to make a personal decision to excel in my education. Thank you again for coming in Mr.Higgins and good luck with your new career!

  10. dcorasaniti, Nick, gdimasi, Eric and Dan,

    Thank you all for dropping by to comment. It was a pleasure coming to visit all of you for the Last Lecture Series. I’m glad each of you was able to take away something from the stories I told.

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