Last fall, I spent a large number of my hours fighting the recommendation for the school board to close Ben's school. I spent countless hours talking on the phone, sending emails, attending meetings and even more time worrying and stressing about the situation.
What exactly was I fighting? I did not want Ben's current school to close. I wanted him to stay where he was with the same teachers, same students and same environment.
Why did I want these same things? I was happy with where he was and I knew the teachers, students and environment. We were comfortable there.
I was really fighting the unknown. I made the assumption that the unknown would be bad.
Two weeks ago, I wrote about Ben's new placement for the fall 2011 and how I was thrilled with the new school. I met with the principal for two hours recently. Her philosophy about inclusion blew me away. Her background is in working with special needs children and she lead an area of the Exceptional Children before becoming a principal. She addressed my concerns and answered my questions. I do not have any reservations about Ben attending school there.
What have I learned? Sometimes the unknown can be even better. Perhaps Ben will be challenged through inclusion. I would not change that I was a part of the protest, but I think it is important to keep things in perspective, and understand all the options. Unfortunately, in situations like the one we were fighting, information exchange is low and panicking emotions are high. Assumptions are easily made on both sides.
When we fight something, we usually get it in our heads that whatever the change will be, it will be a negative experience. I am reminded of Who Moved My Cheese? In this leadership book, the mice go into work every day to get their cheese and then one day they come in and the cheese's location has been suddenly moved. The mice freak out, like mice do. In the end, the mouse that survived this change was the one with creativity, ingenuity and the ability to be flexible. I want to be that mouse.