Fall brings with it not only changes in nature in the form of colored leaves and cooler breezes but changes in schedules, activities, and more as families transition from vacation time to school time. It’s certain that transition times can be rocky as routines shift and everyone copes. There are the expected transitions of the seasons, but there can be unexpected transitions in family life as well: we’re moving! Grandma’s sick and needs our help. A new baby’s on the way (or sometimes, all three at once!)
The natural response might be feeling panicked and overwhelmed. Sometimes I’m overwhelmed just thinking about it! Our natural temptation might be to let good habits and discipline slide during those times. But we want you and your spouse to think about transitions strategically. On the one hand, you both have to deal, but consider how you as parents can use transitions instead of being run over by them.
Transitions and new schedules, new responsibilities, new realities can be a great time to re-focus on those areas you know you want to improve anyhow. Just last night, our family had a meeting about the school schedule and we introduced new chore responsibilities at the same time. It was a great time to re-prioritize and ask younger children to step into new roles as the responsibilities of our older children had increased with heavier schoolwork. In our course The Family Board Meeting, we encourage families to define their family’s core values and cast a vision for their family. If you’ve done that, use times of transitions to go back to those values and vision and re-focus. Seize the moment to start a new habit or correct a bad one.
I don’t know if I’ve ever experienced a transition and thought, “Everything’s fine! We don’t have to change a thing!” The fact is that our call from Christ is, “Be perfect as your Heavenly Father is perfect.” There’s always something more we can strive for. So talk with your spouse, prioritize, make a change, even if it’s just a small one to start with. Pick up a good habit you let lapse. Maybe this unexpected cross is a chance to start praying the daily Rosary again or trying to make it to daily Mass once a week. Look at transitions as opportunities to work on your soul. Or, more properly, to let HIM work on your soul.
And remember when things get rocky, God is always there, offering us grace. Ask Him for His provision, His daily bread for your family’s journey. Then tackle the transition as a couple, knowing that you are children of a loving Father Who will be there in every season.