The ABCs of Change

By Darlene Gavron Stevens, LCPC

In my first childhood memory, I’m four years old and crying.

The youngest of six, I was usually the last child picked up at my Catholic School kindergarten. Mom was caring and wonderful, just overbooked. The crossing guard I clung to each day was equally lovely, but she wasn’t my mom.

Welcome to change, and the realization that sometimes you have to rely on yourself when life asks you to skim over a hurdle. Problem is, you’re not sure you even know how to jump.

Now, as an adult with an adult son and another set to start his senior year of high school, I don’t usually cry when faced with change. I rely on the ABCs of Change.

A — Accept the situation as is. Try not to make it a catastrophe, drama, or apocalypse. Fighting change rarely  helps and often prolongs the adaptation process.

B– Believe that you can survive, adapt, and thrive from change. This was very difficult for me to embrace in 1994 when I was undergoing cancer treatment. Or when I left the Chicago Tribune to get a graduate degree in counseling psychology. The treatment (I am a 22-year survivor) led me to phone peer counseling, and the grad degree led me to my dream of counseling families.

C– This letter deserves three phrases: Courage, Caring and Community. Have Courage that you can weather any change, be Caring to yourself and seek out a supportive Community.

As I begin another new chapter — my own private practice — I thank my late mom for being late those kindergarten days. She dried my tears, apologized, and hugged me and the crossing guard.

In the end, the lesson she taught me (and in a way, you) was as simple as ABC.




  1. bonnie rubin

    Great post! Love how you put the perfect “bow” on it at the end!

    • Darlene

      Thank you Bonnie! I plan to write as much as possible. Will be attending a national conference next month on learning disabilities and mental health, where I’m giving input on possible legislation. All good things ahead.

  2. Susan

    I am going to use this for my team at work. We have lots of changes right now!

    • Darlene

      Thank you, Susan! Let me know if there is any feedback. Good luck with all the changes!

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