Dr. Rich Patterson


It is the transitions that are difficult in life.  Or maybe I should say, It is the transitions that we don’t pay close enough attention to in life.  Think about putting together a puzzle from the photo above.  You have this one-piece with multiple colors on it, and you cannot figure out where it goes for the life of you.  It almost seems like it is from another puzzle and not a part of this photo.  Later you find just the perfect place for it, and everything seems to come together.

If we think about it, we’re always in transition.  We move from one location to another; we drive, walk, or use public transportation to get ourselves to another place.  But I am talking about another type of transition.  I’m thinking about those times in your life when you’ve moved into something different.  For an adolescent, it might be going into the next grade, high school, or college.  We don’t often think about changing times’ effect on our lives.  In a larger sense, we live in changing times on the planet.

There is more going on with world affairs than at any other time in modern history.  It can be stressful and cause us to completely lose our focus or our way.  It is easy to give up, to feel like it all doesn’t matter anyway.  Adolescents think that way often and need help clarifying how to think about moving forward in their own life.

As parents and adults, we need to help them take control of the steering wheel in their lives.  To realize that we don’t always know how the pieces fit is one realization.  However, eventually, they do indeed work together.  Consider a high school concert band playing in a concert, and they are performing a composition made up of a medley (groups of various songs) on Broadway show tunes.  Maybe it contains Oklahoma, My Fair Lady, and Fiddler on the Roof, three of my favorites.  As the band plays the first song, Oklahoma, you recognize it and enjoy the performance.

When they move into My Fair Lady, the melody seems to disappear, the rhythms often get more complex, and the melody appears to be disconnected, or no melody at all.  This confusion goes on for 8-12 measures, and then they break into My Fair Lady.  Those measures in-between Oklahoma and My Fair Lady is called a transition.  Out of the entire composition, three Broadway songs, these 8-12 measure transitions can be the most difficult of the whole composition.

It is when things don’t make sense.  From the performers’ place, they may have had the melody, and suddenly their part makes no sense at all.  Some of the notes they are playing sound like wrong notes, and the rhythms become more complex and don’t seem to represent anything that has come previously.  How does this apply to us here on the planet?  The things we do day-to-day, which may even seem mundane and unimportant, add to our toolbox from which we can draw our strength, our determination when we need it.

Things like being on time, doing our homework every day, doing our best, being friendly to others, being helpful may seem unimportant until they need to find that strength in themselves, and it isn’t there because they never bothered to build it up.

I will continue this thread on the next posting. Would you mind reading one?  Here is the link to Part II, Transitions – II – Dr. Rich Patterson (

Silvia Pencak has a beautiful post on How to Survive Transition Time, read that here, How To Survive Transition | Top Tips (

Yours for Better Parenting,