Wormelli reminds us of Elisabeth Kübler-Ross' five stages of grief (On Death and Dying, 1969): Denial/Isolation, Anger, Bargaining, Depression, and Acceptance. He goes on to say, “One or more of these stages is experienced by each of us when we are asked to discard something we hold dearly and accept something new in its place. Yes, we fake-rationalize ourselves into, “This will not actually happen,” and, "It'll just pass like another education fad, and I can wait until everyone comes to their senses.”
We are in the midst of significant changes in the education world and those changes are affecting everyone in OCSU. On a daily basis I see students, educators, and community members who are experiencing one or more of the different stages of grief. Whether it’s new ways of teaching and learning, changes to our health care system, consolidation, a new governance structure, or new ways of paying for education, all of these changes have the potential to be seen as threatening and to cause people to experience grief. It’s important to remember that we need to support each other as we all struggle to accept new ideas.
As Wormelli says, “Let's help each other: Let's interact in ways that invite thoughtfulness, not invocation of self-protecting egos. Let's extend the compassion to others we seek for ourselves, and honor the grief process that happens when asked to give up something we've held so tightly all these years—a truth, reality, perception, or practice—as they struggle to accept something new. Instead of leaving them to struggle alone, we can walk that path together.”
I’m glad to have all of you walking this path with me.