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Building Strong Communities

August 29, 2014
By Gerald F. Schnepf - Executive Director - Keep Iowa Beautiful , Toledo Chronicle, Tama News-Herald

We are creatures of comfort and love predictability - change tends to make us uncomfortable. As my wife would say, she likes a "Calm Pond"- no waves and therefore no change. We tend to get into patterns of expectancy that we always want to be the same with calm water! We expect everything to be consistent and each experience the same every day.

Change is the law of life.

And those who look only to the past or present are certain to miss the future.

When we get up in the morning each of us have a ritual in how we clean up and get ready for the day - for most of us it is exactly the same each day. What we have for breakfast and how it is prepared tends to be the same or at least a pattern that repeats itself and becomes the same over time. I think you can see my point - we like things to be predictable and "calm ponds."

Seldom do we look at the idea of change as being exciting, stimulating and invigorating to our lives. Change can make us think differently and encourage us to research more information on a topic. It can take us to a new set of people in our lives. As we grow in years, change becomes harder to deal with. In addition changes are occurring around us more rapidly than ever. Change is becoming the normal way of life and stability is the un-normal.

So, how do we deal with change? The first suggestion is when change occurs be careful not to condemn it right away. Take a look at the change and evaluate the pluss and minuss and then come to a determination regarding your attitude about it. In many cases the positives will outweigh the negatives.

Let me give one example. When electric garage door openers came along, my first reaction was "wow we are really getting lazy." Well, now I consider it to be one of the finest inventions and items of change that has come along. It increases safety, provides for real convenience and is a security benefit as well. My first reaction was to treat it as a frivolous novelty. Wow I couldn't be more wrong.

Lets look at another one cruise control in vehicles. I thought how lazy have we become that we cant even keep our foot on the foot feed. That idea will never last and it certainly cant be very important. Wrong again!!! Now on long trips, I dont know what I would do without it the cruise control to take the pressure off.

I think you get the point - give a new idea or change a chance! They can be exciting and in many cases pretty helpful.



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