I absolutely love the Autumn – the colours, the brisk air, the beautiful sunshine (when it’s not raining and foggy) and the peace that it brings. All the seasons have their good and bad elements I suppose but I’ve not found many down sides to Autumn. I find it’s also a time of busyness and looking forward to the new year. With my work in schools it’s a busy time for me. Lots of people want training during these months and a few conferences tend to happen in the Autumn time too.
One of the things I do notice about any time we change seasons is how they reflect our own life experiences too. Whatever season we may be in can have it’s good and not so good elements. My children are all in Secondary school now – a milestone I guess – a real time of change and growing up for all (us too!). It brings many struggles around friendships, pressure of work, fears of growing up and of course their changing bodies to contend with. As adopted children there’s also the added dynamic of challenging identity issues as they try to break away from us as their parents – which may not be a stable platform in the first place.
Each season that comes along we seem to have to be able to embrace it to make the most of it. I know for some Autumn is not their favourite – it may be Summer which for me holds more discomfort than pleasure. But if I hold onto that discomfort all through those Summer months (or days in Britain’s case) then I miss out on finding those moments of fun in the sun. The point is we have to be able to see the good moments in every season whether the natural seasons of the year or those seasons in our lives.
I remember some time ago I had a revelation. It was during a coaching session with a brilliant coach called Jude Jennison who coaches using her horses. An unusual way to coach but very powerful. Anyway at the time I was struggling with hearing all the negative stories of outcomes for children like mine who’ve experienced early trauma. Time after time I’d hear of horrendous circumstances where placements disrupt and young people had to go back into care, or young adult adoptees returning to their birth parents’ chaotic lifestyles – I was starting to lose hope.
My question was “Will it be ok, after all the years of trying to change things for our children – will it eventually be ok?”. Of course not a question anyone can answer at this time and through the changing seasons of their growth it’s hard to predict the outcomes.
However the revelation came to me through my session with a horse and without sounding too wacky I’ll just tell you what four things came out for me in answer to my question:-
Yes it will be ok as long as:
- I can adapt to the change in terrain. Every stage of their development is different. As they go into the teenage years we have to adapt our style of parenting, let go of some of our stuff and try to stay in tune with them.
- Stay connected to the source. For me this is my faith but for others it may be your values or being true to who you are.
- Find my balance. It can get so overwhelming at times and we can get consumed with the heaviness of adoptive parenting. There must be balance though. Not even self-care but fun, health, work and purpose – things other than the difficulties of teenage years.
- Keep things in perspective. Whatever is going on around we need to make sure we keep focusing on the bigger picture. So we’ve not managed to be therapeutic today – there’s always tomorrow!
These four things have been a mantra for me over the last year. They are next to me by my bed and I read them morning and night to give me hope and keep me grounded. As the seasons and stages of life change around me I know if I keep these four things in front of me then there’s a better chance of embracing those changes. Hopefully I can look back and see the progress – someone once said “life is lived forward but best described backwards”.
So as you see the changing seasons remember that there are good and bad elements to every season in life but we just need to hold onto those revelations that get us through and show us the fullness of life lived forward.