When change happens, what do you do?

My German Shepherd, Teddy, has had long time love of his orange deflated basketball. He has hauled it all over the house and knows who is likely to play with him. He loves to have people kick the ball to him. One of my sons’ friends even developed the habit of coming over to play with Teddy and it didn’t matter if my sons were home or not. Teddy loves that! He would bolt for the ball whenever this young man got out of his car.

It has been the orange ball for so long.

Teddy trots all over the yard carrying the orange ball whether he wants to play or not. He’s attached.

And he knows the difference. Because we built a half basketball court in the backyard 12 years ago when my oldest was in 5th grade, its been like Mecca for basketball playing friends for years. Teddy doesn’t ever touch the good basketballs because he knows which one is his.

The black ball.

Until yesterday. For the first time ever, as I was interview coaching with a client, out of the corner of my eye, I saw Teddy running after a black basketball.

There had been a game going on the court and apparently the black ball had landed on something that punctured it. Since it was not usable for playing anymore, someone kicked it for Teddy. Suddenly his allegiance to the beloved orange ball changed. He started playing with the black ball and it is in better shape so he likes it better.

The Test

Tim, my oldest, had to do a test. He put both balls in the same area and said, “Teddy, bring me the ball.” Though Teddy thought about it for a bit, he went to grab the black one. This morning, he trotted outside with the black ball in his mouth.

My husband, Bill, was appalled. Bill has a number of things we tease him about that he won’t let go, like the hairbrush he has had since college. He and Teddy have had many hours of play time in the 6 years Teddy has been our dog and he really didn’t want to make the change. He felt like Teddy was being a traitor to change his allegiance to the new ball.

Teddy however has found that the new ball has benefits. Because it is not as flat, it kicks better and he can carry it around even better. He gets more enjoyment out of it.

Don’t like change

I find that all of us have things in our lives that we are attached to and don’t want to change. It could be a personal item like Teddy’s ball or it could be a habit that we are comfortable with and don’t want to change. Change is inevitable in our lives and can be little or big.

When change is forced on us through a job loss or restructuring of our role within the company, we may be very unhappy with the change and want things to go back to the way they were. It may make us angry, sad, or even depressed. Change is hard. We may play the blame game or turn to alcohol or other substances to try to avoid thinking about change or think it helps us cope with it.

If, however, we work through the change and find the positives in it, we may find that change brings with it new blessings, much like Teddy is finding with his new ball.

What do you think? How do you handle change?


  1. Jane C Woods on June 30, 2010 at 10:18 am

    Lovely post Julie! I was with someone yesterday who was speaking to an audience about how she relished change and realised she moved jobs about every three years. Some people in the room were clearly horrified at this amount of change going on – voluntarily!
    But she was coping with changes where she called the shots, as is your lovely dog. He chose his ball. It’s when change comes upon us without the apparent choice that problems abound. Although I would offer that there are always choices if you look, but that’s another story….

    • Julie Walraven on June 30, 2010 at 10:26 am

      You are right, Teddy made the choice. Some people are afraid to make any change because of what could happen or what they imagine could happen. You are right, too, that there are always choices if you look.

      Your series on change is a good example of how to survive change, http://www.changingpeople.co.uk/2010/change-how-to-survive-1/

      When we fear change, we make more bad choices and end up sometimes with changes that we don’t plan.

  2. Ed Han on June 30, 2010 at 2:36 pm

    Ah, Julie, how insightful to make that connection between Teddy’s ball and the prospect of change!

    • Julie Walraven on June 30, 2010 at 4:04 pm

      Thank you, Ed! My brain just kind of works that way and I bet yours does too. As you look at life happenings and draw parallels to what you are writing about.

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