I am getting ready to conduct a series of parent orientation sessions in conjunction with our freshmen registration program. One of the items on the agenda is talking about transitions — and how they are not always easy.
To help illustrate this concept, I use a metaphor from author Peter Senge. He takes a rubber band and holds one end of the band on his thumb, and then pulls the band up with his other thumb to stretch the rubber. One end represents “current reality” and the top end signifies “future vision.” The further the vision is away from the reality, the more tension in (the middle of) the band.
As freshmen come to campus, their vision is much loftier than reality, and much tension ensues. As things progress, reality and dreams become more aligned — either the future view is modified to be more realistic or the current state of affairs changes as students grow.
I help parents understand that tension is a natural part of the transition process, and reaffirm that they really are not paying us to send their student home without having been changed. With this exercise, we are reframing the situation that tension is to be expected and that it means something is right, not wrong.
Think about this simple analogy as you enter into a change effort or transition process. It helps everyone when additional energy is not wasted fighting tension that naturally occurs.