Change is something that most of us anxiously live to avoid. It’s something that most of us can sometimes even despise. Change has been given so many labels that classify it as something scary, something to dread. At Ironwood, we have learned what change is. We have been given the knowledge that in so many ways, change can be positive. We have worked for months to be able to accept change and work with it, not against it.
Recently within the Ironwood community, change has caught us all by surprise. As a community, we have all been supportive of each other through the process of all these changes. We have shown vulnerability, openness, respect, inclusion, given advice, and so much more. We have been growing together through change and have taken the opportunities that come with it.
Here at Ironwood, we have been hit with a very quick season change. We were going days with 90 degree weather. Our Ironwood horses, which have become some of some of our best friends, have been dealing with heat exhaustion and major dehydration. We began to have to change our schedules in order to take care of our horses and keep them healthy. Riding was postponed, and the horses were being kept inside for most of the day, which led to some pretty cranky horses. Recently we have experienced some chilly days. We went from “it’s too hot” to “can I go get my sweatshirt”. I don’t think any of us were expecting such chilly days so soon and so sudden. But we have adapted to this change and have accepted our beautiful weather. Fall is definitely right around the corner.
Now to take a look into our group dynamics, change has caused so many obstacles. The Farmhouse girls group had no longer been a “group” as you would need more than one person for that. I became the entire farmhouse girls group, and it definitely took a turn in not just mine, but the boys groups as well. With all of the responsibility at the Farmhouse, I was unable to complete all tasks by myself, so we had to navigate splitting the boys group and share responsibilities in the house and barn. As I like to say, they joined the girls group. We had to figure out our roles in the community, and had to face a lot of awkward interactions. I was eating all three meals with the boys, as well as joining them in therapeutic groups. At first, I was quite frightened, and didn’t know what this would mean for me. Luckily, the Farmhouse boys invited me with understanding and a lot of kindness. We have no longer been the “boys group” and the “girls group”, but have become the “Farmhouse”.
Within my time with this hybrid group, I have learned a lot about who they are as people and how caring they are. They allowed me to teach them how to play the card game, skip Bo, and it has now become our nightly routine. Eat, sleep, skip Bo. They have taught me to cook, but most importantly, have taught me to be confident in my leadership. As a house lead, leading all boys, they have accepted me and have worked alongside me, giving me the confidence to grow as a leader. I have learned a lot about my peers, and have laughed a little too hard along the way.
Another change that we have been faced with at Ironwood includes our staff leaders. Our wonderful Farmhouse manager Alicia, has been given a great opportunity within her life that has caused her to have to step down as manager, but she definitely will not be leaving us. With that, Frye manager, Alex, had become the new Farmhouse manager. This change has led to quite a lot of fun within the Farmhouse and lots of laughter. This gives Alex the great opportunity to learn lots more about the Farmhouse and to be able to support residents at the end of their program, being able to experience their final growth at Ironwood.
Change can be scary, yes. But it’s the way that you approach it that determines the outcome. Ironwood has taught us how and why we should be open to change, the endless possibilities that come with it, and the chance to grow. Let’s take a minute to reflect on our own change. What is the change? How am I feeling about it? What can I do about it? How can I look at it differently? Never stop asking yourself these questions. Never stop believing in the opportunities. And always forgive yourself and others in the process of change.
My peers and I have been working tremendously hard to make positive change within our lives. We have, and will continue to make mistakes along the way. We only ask for your forgiveness and support, and you should expect the same of us through your own change as a parent. Always remember that change cannot be avoided, but it doesn’t have to be negative!
H- Hard, yet helpful
N- New opportunities