My kids have been talking a lot of late about getting a pet. They want the biggest pet imaginable, whether it be a horse, a huge dog, or a giant panda (seriously). After having the conversation about what makes for a good pet, we also had the conversation about the responsibilities that come along with adding another member to the family.
While both of our kids “get” the idea of responsibilities, and both of them are invested on a daily basis in a number of small chores (making the bed, cleaning up after themselves, etc.) they still don’t quite understand the long-term responsibilities that a pet brings to a family.
Of course, one of our responsibilities as parents is to teach them.
So, last week, we brought a parakeet, who was promptly named “Sunshine,” into the house. Sunshine, like his adopted family, is a bit eclectic, and has some strange behaviors we’re still trying to figure out. But, as with any new family member, that’s part of it, right? Working towards keeping things the same while also understanding that they aren’t.
Bringing Sunshine into the fold also made me think about how things change when we have new staff or students entering our communities. Often, our initial reaction is to try and go about things as they were, simply because that is the easiest. We basically attempt to force newcomers into the structure that already exists.
Sometimes this works, but often, we come to the realization that for every new member, we have to make modifications to the way things were. This is inherently good. For those who are new to the community this helps exhibit worth and value, and an understanding that the community cares for everyone. For those who are less new, it shows the importance of constant change.
It seems that the best communities are the ones that are always reinventing. They are able to keep their stories and their foundations, while being aware that nothing can stay the same for long. The best part is that since we are always welcoming new members to our families, we have the consistent impetus to always change the way we do things.