Change

Adaptability and a Sense of Adventure great gifts to offer graduating students

Change is inevitable and it is unavoidable, but whether it is good or bad can often be determined by our choices. Yes, not all change is good, yet the inability to embrace it and to partner with it can rob oneself of tremendous opportunity for growth and enrichment.

With one of my three children in college and the other two knocking at the door of graduation, I have considered adaptability and an adventurous heart as two of the greatest life lessons I can pass on to them. It is the ability to see change not as moving from one room to another, but as the continuous process of adding to the size of the house. The ability to transition from one situation, job or town to the next and to take with you all the positives, the lessons learned and the relationships gained is paramount to success, and sanity, in today’s world. You never lose… you only gain, even in less than ideal situations.

Young people are often terrified of making wrong choices at this point in their lives, and that fear cripples them with indecision and robs them of dreaming. The biggest question in the minds of my kids these past few weeks (and hundreds of others) is career choice. What is critical for them to understand, and us, is that the world has changed.

According to alis.alberta.ca, on average, Canadian youth are likely to experience up to five completely separate ‘career’ paths, with up to seventeen transitions within those occupations over the course of their lifetime. The days of growing up to be a doctor are over. Some of the previous generations would like to explain away this phenomenon as lack of discipline, not being taught work ethic or young people having no sense of loyalty. Tell that to the ever growing number of forty-five year olds working McDonalds or Wal-Mart as their ‘lifelong career’ suddenly came to an end due to unforeseen economic factors, sudden shifts in the marketplace or a computer replacing them. Tell that to the countless number of highly skilled and trained engineers who recently have been told to leave their work site in the oil fields.

So what is my point? Life is a journey filled with twists and turns. Some come by choice, some do not. The ability to adapt and even do it with an adventurous heart is a great gift and freedom to offer young people at this stage of life. Yes, study and work hard towards career goals, but do it with the wisdom that when change comes, which it will, view it not as a crippling loss but embrace it as an enriching time to make your house larger.