Transitions are not simple.
While there is a celebratory feeling in the air with so many end-of-year gatherings, graduations, and commencement ceremonies, this time represents a transition between the known and unknown and may evoke a range of reactions from our kids who could use our creative engagement.
- Some kids may be thrilled to move up to another grade or to a different school.
Some might feel anxiety as they leave what is familiar and move on to something that is unknown.
As parents we can help them navigate this time about what they learned, obstacles they overcame, and memories they want to hold onto that will help them step into what lies ahead.
Helping our kids understand that the past and future are always linked will help them integrate the different aspects of themselves. The idea has a beautiful linguistic connection. Ma’avar in Hebrew, means transition and contains within the word both the past (avar) and future (m’ever, or beyond) (Just as in English the word “commencement” which usually celebrates the completion of a period of learning is connected to the word for beginning).
Learning doesn’t end. Wherever we go we bring our full selves with all of the strengths and struggles into the new situation. Knowing this will help us all feel more whole as we move forward into what lies ahead.
So find 15 minutes in your day to ask your kids to reflect on a set of questions that can help them take stock in what they learned and how they may consider bringing those lessons with them. Throw out a question at the dinner table, in the car, or as a part of a game you play with them.
- What am I proud of myself for accomplishing this year?
What is something I still struggle with?
What is a routine that took hold this year that I want to keep?
What are habits (around screentime, food, or even friends) that don’t serve me well anymore and I want to try and change for next year?
As parents let’s ask ourselves some questions too:
- What did I learn about myself and my capacities?
What did I learn about my child/ren and their capacities?
What is a routine I would want to bring into the next year?
What is a norm that we fell into as a family (around bedtime, screentime, mealtime, etc) that I want to reconsider for next year?
When we close a chapter in our lives, similar to when we finish reading a book of the bible (as we did last shabbat) we can say, chazak, chazak v’nitchazek, literally: be strong, be strong and we will be strengthened.
I am thinking about it this way:
“Be strong” – To know what you want to let go of.
“Be strong” – To know what will help you grow and that you want to carry with you.
“And we will be strengthened” – And together, parent and child, will be strengthened by knowing that we can abide by, support, and trust each other to take the lessons we need to learn into the next chapter of our lives.
Blessings for the journey,