Fall is a season of transition. From back-to-school, to new carpools, holidays approaching and new routines, it’s easy for all of us to get lost in the fray. Meditate on these two truths of transitions to ease the burden of a challenging season: Expectations and Grace
Expectation: It’s a simple word, yet it’s one we don’t often give a lot of thought. Which is strange, since expectations fill our days. We wake up with expectations of our partners, of our children, of our pets, of our coworkers, and even of our “things.” We expect our cars to start when we push the ignition. We expect the lights to work at intersections. We expect the drive-thru to have our coffee of choice.
Yet sometimes our expectations aren’t so simple. We expect our children to adjust to new routines, with sometimes little or no support through the adjustment. We expect our partners to know what we need, sometimes without adequate communication on our end. We expect our families to adjust to new children, new homes, new work/school schedules, often without giving much thought to what our expectation actually entails. My word of encouragement to you this season is to put some thought in to your expectations. Are they realistic? Are they attainable? Have they been communicated well?
Practical steps to set clear expectations:
- Prep your children for your “back to school” expectations: This can look like creating a morning routine together, discussing classroom expectations, assigning chores and responsibilities, and setting up a homework area together. Is it fair to expect our students to do these things without our support? Maybe… but the expectations are much more likely to be met if we front load with information, encouragement and praise.
- Prep your partner for changes in routine: This can look like comparing work schedules, discussing carpool duties, and even creating a shared calendar. More communication encourages more understanding.
- Prep your own mind to be flexible: This can look like getting a new planner for the fall, scheduling workouts in advance, meal-prepping, brain dumping, or planning self-care. If you need support in this, please talk to your counselor for more wellness strategies
Grace: In a season of transition, why is it so difficult to show grace? Often times we become high-strung in new or foreign situations, looking for a sense of control. But this desire to feel in control can manifest as acting short-tempered, bossy, agitated, or easily frustrated. It is not uncommon for anxiety to increase during seasons of transition. Think back to a stressful trip, a high-risk work project, an important interview, college recruitment, or welcoming a new baby to the family… many of us can remember feeling stress or anxiety in those times. What we (and the people around us) need most in these seasons of transitions is grace. So in this fall transition, let’s set our hearts and minds to be intentional. This can look like a mantra, a sticky note on your bathroom vanity or rearview mirror, or an alarm on your phone, reminding you to take a breath, focus on the present, and have grace for the moment you are in. Because like any season, fall is a transition. It won’t last forever, and you won’t get it back. Allow yourself joy in this season using our tools of expectations and grace.