Life is About Change and Is Key To Growth

Personal Development What Your Father Should Have Taught You
Duke Leto Atreides – Played by one of my favorite actors, German actor Jurgen Prochnow

Change is a part of life. All living things change; dying things change too. They call that decay. My folks always impressed upon me that you are either learning and growing or you are dying. This was also mentioned in Frank Herbert’s Book Dune where Duke Leto Atreides tells his son, “Without change something sleeps in side us and seldom awakens.” It is through change the we grow and develop. Tandem to this saying is the saying of the father in Batman Begins where Dr. Wayne tells Bruce, “Why do we fall? So we can learn to get back up.” There is a lot of truth there. This is how we, as infants learn to walk. If we didn’t fall down and get up again to learn to balance we would spend our entire life crawling. Many people spend their life crawling. They try to avoid the challenges and changes that are a part of life. By avoiding “falling down” they never learn to be the people that they could be; that they were meant to be. In an earlier time they said that was the difference between someone who became a man (or a woman,) and those who remained children. Paul Atreides captures this when he proclaims:


He must face change to become the person he was always meant to be.

Change can be scary. It involves the unknown and people have been known to stay in a bad situation that they know simply because they are too scared to face something they don’t know. We talked about fear in the last What Your Father Should Have Taught You [ see].

Fear was the mind-killer that kept us from thinking clearly. It can keep us not only from enjoying ourselves and trying new things but it can lock us in a prison made by our fears. In the beginning, I said that we are either changing or growing. We were designed to face our fears and to face the trial in error that is the struggle for survival. As Nietzsche said: What does not kill me makes me stronger. But if we don’t struggle at all we become weak and our survival is threatened by weakness – both because it can prevent us from finding a mate and having a family and because it prevents us from facing the challenges that can make us into something better than what we now are. One way I challenge myself is to always have a book with me. At the moment I am reading “Selling Hitler” about Germany in World War II and “The Decline of the West” by Oswald Spengler. The first book is the easier read so it kinda depends on how much I will be able to concentrate as to which book I pick up. But my sister taught me to always carry a book with me so that when I invariably had to sit (or stand,) and wait on something it wouldn’t be wasted time. I could use the time to improve myself and better equip myself to face the future. [See:]

As I said, if your not growing you’re dying. But even the dead are changing. They are decomposing and becoming less than they were.

When we are children it is our parents and older siblings who are to help us learn and grow and to give us the courage to face new challenges. Some parents do better than others. However, I have noticed in my own life that parenting gets easier the farther down the list of children you get. I have 5. The first one was terrifying to me because I had no clue what I was doing. At every little thing, my wife and I ran to the hospital or doctor because we didn’t know what to expect and were afraid we might do it wrong. However, with each child, it got easier and more familiar.

My dad was born in 1919 and my parents were the age of most of my friend’s grandparents. My life was a lot easier than that of my siblings. My folks struggled and worked hard in their early years and by the time I came along (my Mom – 3 years younger than my Dad – was 40 when I was born,) my folks had a cabin on the lake. Yet when I was a toddler I remember my mom waking me up to see my Dad. This was because he went to work in the dark of the morning before I got up and came home from work late at night after I was in bed. If my mom hadn’t woken me up my Dad would have been a stranger to me. The highlight of our lives was when my dad was able to bring home some hamburgers or chicken from a restaurant or when I got a little older he took me to work on Saturday as he worked on the payroll for his workers – that was great because I got a whole bottle of pop to myself and a candy-bar from the machine at his work – wow, that was the life! My Dad worked very hard to ensure we had what we needed and by the time I was a teen we had two boats I got the old family car as my first vehicle (a Buick Electra 225 with a cyclops light in the front and electric seats. A car my Dad had gotten from his boss.) When my Dad started he was digging ditches for 10 cents an hour during the depression, then he served in WWII, then he returned to the same company he worked for during the depression. By the time he died, he was General Manager of the company’s railroad, supervised the fleet of construction vehicles, and the real estate and farms owned by the company and the boss. By that time we had a good life.

My siblings were a bit jealous because I got more “things” than they did. Unfortunately, they were all married and moved out of the house before I went to Junior High and I missed them. The house seemed very quiet without my siblings.

I mention all this because it is obvious from this that my Dad’s life and mine have included a lot of changes. If my father had not sought out change and improvement, if he had been too scared to face new challenges, or if he just bemoaned his fate at digging ditches for only 10 cents an hour our entire lives would have been a miserable struggle of want [see ]. While the struggle is good; we face it to overcome struggle and become stronger. That’s how we learned to walk. It had to be scary when we were not able to balance and everything in the world was so huge. But we did it and now we don’t even have to think about it. We cannot even remember all the times we fell. “Why do we fall, Bruce? So we can learn to pick ourselves up.”

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