Last Tuesday, June 14th at 8:17pm, my fourth son
Ford Neil Savage was born. Obviously, we are happy and proud parents and obviously my wife looks awesome 5 minutes after delivery!
However, this brings up a very pertinent issue in most
families and organizations, how do you handle new arrivals? With every positive
change you gain something and you lose something. As we are entering into this
“new arrival” phase in our family, I thought I would be good to share some
advice in handling this sort of change.
1. Change happens.
There is no avoiding it. When things are healthy they grow and change. For
instance, a business that is healthy will experience success and face pressure
to deliver in an environment of greater demand. In a family a new member (in
our case) or something such as moving will create unique pressure points and
stress that can frustrate everyone. Because things are good, we usually don’t
see the need to adjust, after all everything is healthy. This is where we need
a good dose of reality – change happens. It must continue to be healthy.
2. Change hurts.
There is always pain involved in adjusting to changes. Every change represents
a gain and a loss. It is important to grieve your losses. In our family we are
grieving the loss of sleep! A new child brings tons of new issues that disrupt
the way things were. We celebrate the gain of a beautiful baby boy but also
watch as our other children are all dealing with the addition in their own way.
One of my children is still very uncomfortable around the baby. He is grieving
the loss of his understood place in the family. This is also true in the
marketplace. A growing business means expanding the workforce or changing
someone’s job description. There is always pain involved. Sometimes a personal
weakness is exposed that reveals further changes that must be made. I love what
Henry Cloud says, “hurt doesn’t mean harm.” Sometimes it’s the process of
“hurting” that allows us to absorb the change and move past our weaknesses and
continue growing. Through the process, be sure to acknowledge that changes
cause a little pain.
During this season in our family I see at least four painful
issues we must address…
- We must address our daily routine. Moving from 3 kids to 4
is a bigger jump than it sounds. Our daily routine has little room for
disorganization or disarray.
- We must up our hustle. With an infant around it is easy to
give our attention to him and forget that we have three other heathens running
around. My wife and I must up our hustle to be the good parents all of our
- We must acknowledge fatigue, impatience and errors. We
aren’t sleeping as much as we’d like and our judgment and patience suffers.
Therefore we must admit when we need help and when we’re wrong.
- We must not forsake life-giving disciplines. We need to
spend time with God, we need to eat well and exercise, we need to stay
connected in our marriage and with friends and we need rest. When one of these
suffers you can feel it! When all suffer you are on the brink of burnout.
Each of these steps involves some pain, but like we’ve
always heard, “no pain, no gain!”
3. Change heals.
Like most parents, it’s always hard to predict how you will feel about a child
you don’t even know yet. Like most parents, I chose to love my son long before
he was born, because that’s what good dads do. But I would catch myself
wondering if I would love him like I do my other boys. The truth is this “new
arrival” will soon no longer be new. He will be a part of our family like
everyone else. And if we handle this season of “new arrival” well we will reach
the day that we cannot imagine life any differently. This is the goal of
handling change. We must be patient and gentle in the process but we must
commit to the necessity of change in our lives. Deep down no one wants their
family, marriage, or career to be in the same place a year from now. Yet, we
tend to resist change. One day you will see with clarity that the changes you
embrace and endure now become the foundations of health in the future.
I pray this will help you handle the "new arrivals" in your life. Please post your comments here.