Change is inevitable, it is simply part of life, from the way our children change as they grow older to the changing of the seasons through to the remarkable chemical changes that take place when we cook. All of these things we take in our stride, because we know that they are going to happen. But sometimes we have to make decisions, sometimes quickly or deal with unexpected change and these are the things that shape our lives and sometimes our future selves. We will all behave differently to these challenges and this will depend on our past experience, our levels of resilience, our current responsibilities, our fears etc. But, how we behave, and how we respond will have an enormous impact on those around us.
Some of you may be familiar with the story about the potato the egg and the coffee beans, if you are, I think it is still worth a pause moment to consider.
One day a girl, let’s call her Pandora, was complaining, life was miserable, nothing was fair. She was fed up of having to struggle. Why did everything have to be so hard? Why were there so many problems that needed to be solved, hurdles to overcome? Why was everybody else’s life so much easier than hers. Her grandma asked her to follow her into the kitchen and a little sulkily Pandora followed, she really couldn’t be bothered with this she had a game she wanted to play and now Grandma was taking her time. It simply wasn’t fair. Silently, Grandma took out 3 pans and filled them with water, she set them carefully on the stove. Pandora watched as the pots began to boil and her grandma put potatoes onto one pan, eggs into another and ground coffee into the third. Pandora was impatiently tutting to herself as she waited … and waited. Until twenty minutes had passed. Then Grandma removed the potatoes and put hem into a bowl, the eggs went into another bowl and the coffee, she ladled into a cup. “Pandora, my child, what do you see?”
“Potatoes, eggs and coffee, Grandma.” replied Pandora a little agitated.
“Look again, closer. What do you notice? Touch them.”
Pandora prodded a potato and noted that it was soft. “Now, Pandora, take an egg and break it.” Pandora, slightly less resistant did as she was told, peeled the egg and observed that it was hard. “Now, my child, smell and sip the coffee.” Grandma handed Pandora the cup and the delicious aroma filled her nostrils and, as she tasted it, she smiled.
“This is all a very lovely Food Tech Lesson, Grandma, but what does it mean?” Grandma explained that the potatoes, eggs and coffee had all faced the same adversity, each had spent time in boiling water, but each one had reacted differently. The potato was hard and unforgiving but came out soft and weaker; the egg had begun fragile, the thin shell protecting the liquid inside until it was put in the boiling water and then it emerged hard. The coffee though, reacted and changed the water and created something new.
She looked Pandora in the eye and asked, “So, which one are you? When adversity comes your way, how do you respond? Are you a potato, made weaker by adversity and wanting to give up? An egg coming out tough and with a hardened heart, or a coffee bean -when things are at their worst, you get better and change the situation around you?
Change is always going to be there, we will always face difficulties and unexpected things will always happen. The only thing that matters is how we choose to respond and how we learn from it. We need to teach our children to accept changes, consider them and adapt, seeing each one as an experience from which to learn. Every day your children surprise me with their positive approach and their resilience, knowing that things are never as bad as they seem and acknowledging that they are sometimes not as great either. Learning how to maintain our perspective on things helps us overcome adversity even if we struggle. This is not an easy skill, sometimes we all need a little help to be a coffee bean.
“When it rains it pours. Maybe the art of life is to convert tough times to great experiences: we can choose to hate the rain or dance in it.”