Your dad’s job requires that your family relocate.
Your best friend is moving far away.
Your older sibling is leaving home to get married.
How well would you adapt to such changes?
A tree that can bend with the wind is more likely to survive a storm. Like that tree, you can learn to “bend” with changes over which you have little or no control. Before discussing how you can do that, though, consider a few things you should know about change.
WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW
Change is inevitable. The Bible states a fundamental truth about humans: “Unexpected events overtake them all.” (Ecclesiastes 9:11) Sooner or later, you will be confronted with the reality of those words. Of course, not all unexpected events are bad. And some changes that at first seem to be bad might turn out to be advantageous. Nevertheless, most people thrive on routine, while change
Change can be particularly stressful for adolescents. Why? “You’re already going through internal changes,” explains a young man named Alex. * “External changes just add to the stress.”
Here is another reason: When adults face a change, they can refer to their personal ‘book of experience’ to see how they dealt with similar situations in the past. But young people have less history on which to draw.
You can learn to adapt. Resilience is the ability to recover from misfortune or adjust to change. A resilient person can not only endure a new circumstance but also look at a seeming obstacle and see an opportunity in it. Resilient teens are less likely to turn to drugs or alcohol when they feel overwhelmed.
WHAT YOU CAN DO
Accept reality. No doubt you would like to have total control of your life, but that is simply not possible. Friends will move away or marry; siblings will grow up and leave home; circumstances may force your family to move, leaving behind friends and all that is familiar. It is better to accept reality than to let negative thoughts overwhelm you.
Look ahead. Focusing on the past is like driving on a highway with your eyes fixed on the rearview mirror. An occasional glance is beneficial, but you really need to concentrate on the road ahead. The same is true when you are confronted with change. Try to keep your eyes fixed on the future. (Proverbs 4:25) For example, what goal could you set for the next month, or six months?
Focus on the positive. “Resilience is about attitude,” says a young woman named Laura. “Find positive aspects of the circumstance you are in.” Can you list at least one advantage that your new circumstance offers?
A young woman named Victoria recalls that in her teen years, all her close friends moved away. “I felt so lonely, and I wished that everything could have stayed the way it was,” she says. “But looking back, that’s when I really started to grow. I came to realize that growth requires change. That’s also when I started seeing possibilities for new friendships that were all around me.”
Focusing on the past is like driving on a highway with your eyes fixed on the rearview mirror
Do things for others. The Bible says: “Look out not only for your own interests, but also for the interests of others.” (Philippians 2:4) A good antidote to your own challenge is helping others with theirs. Anna, 17, says: “As I grew older, I came to realize that when I could help someone else who might be going through a similar situation
^ par. 11 Some names in this article have been changed.