I teach Saudi students. They are all over the map when it comes to personality. Rightly so, as all humans are diverse when it comes to that.
But one thing I see commonality in, is in the area of change. They don’t like it.
I’m not just talking life changing change, as a lot of us aren’t quick to be cool with that kind of change. What I’m talking about is the smallest of stuff. Like just changing their seats in class.
Mind you these are not kids or teenagers. These are mid to late twentysomethings. Who would prefer to be uncomfortable than to change to a different seat.
Example being, the other week we rearranged the tables to fit better in the classroom. The tables were a bit of a health and safety issue, for us, the teachers. We would bang into the tables due to the tables not being a great fit to the classroom. So, when the student came in she told me that she wasn’t comfortable having to move her head to look at the whiteboard. I told her we’d be keeping the tables the way they are BUT could move her to a table that was arranged differently, in the way she preferred.
She was reluctant to change, but said she’d try it out and thanked me. But the next day there she was back in her original spot.
Why? Because she liked the students at that table. She liked her spot. It had been hers for three months. And do she chose to stay there–knowing it would be uncomfortable–versus moving to a spot that would bring her comfort.
And then you have the other example where if I ask my students to move to do a simple activity they are reluctant. They sometimes even murmur their displeasure of having to change.
Some may say that it’s not about change but rather about laziness. Which is not necessarily incorrect. Some students just don’t want to get off their bums. However, I believe, it is still about change. “Ms. Hope, I’m comfortable in this chair. I like the people I sit next to. I don’t want to move.” And I usually reply with “I don’t want to do a lot of things, but I still do it. So please move for this activity. ” Sarcastic? A little bit. But always with love included. 😊
And thankfully they get up and change chairs. But getting them to do it, grown ups, and having to explain to them why can be tiring. But I’ll not get into that today.
I’ve point blank asked my students if they like change and the majority say NO.
I give them some of my experiences and, I hope, wisdom by telling them change is constant. It’s very much a part of life. It’s inevitable (except from a vending machine — credit of that quote goes to a sticker I once saw on a back of a car) and really unavoidable.
I further tell them that change happens all the time. All over the world. You either get on board with change or you get left behind. Maybe not to that extreme. But they usually get what I mean. Even if they may never like change. Which I feel many won’t. But who knows, maybe I will be proven wrong. Saudi is changing so much, maybe because of the changes, the people, the women of Saudi in particular, will be better with being open to changes themselves. Maybe.
As for me. I love change. I embrace it. It’s been a part of my life since as long as I can remember. Maybe as far back as when I was five years old and moved to Florida, from Texas, for a year–to be with my dad.
I am not scared of change. I might feel uneasy when big changes happen. Such as making a decision to not stay at my job. Fear of the unknown perhaps. But it doesn’t stop me from doing something. I guess knowing that change happens whether we want it to or not keeps me not fighting it. And believing that it makes us stronger. Not to mention, with change it’s possible to gain more life experiences. Gain new friendships. Gain other things with work too. As well as gain better adapting and adjusting skills. Or as the military would always says “builds character”, which is so true.
Even if we don’t always want to admit it.
I’ll end with the quote below. More and more these days this is where I am at. As if I’ve been avoiding change, change of jobs more specifically, and God (or the universe) has been telling me to move on. Turn the page. Begin that new chapter in my life book. The signs are evident all around me. And I’m paying attention.
Change is a comin. And I’m ready.