Popcorn, Haircuts, and Other Changes

There.
You did it.
You just made a change.
This page was closed, but now it is open.

Everything Changes

    Young people grow old.
    Days turn into nights.
    Short hair grows long.

Some things change all at once.

    Like a popcorn kernel that suddenly pops.
    Or a birthday party when everyone shouts, "Surprise!"
    Or a cloudburst that drenches everyone to the bone,
    Or a lamp that changes a room from dark to light.

Some things change more slowly.

    Like a tree growing a little every day,
    Or an ice cube melting in a cold drink,
    Or the way the clock moves when you're
         waiting for recess to begin.

Some changes are happy and exciting

    Like the day in Spring when green buds appear
    Or the start of a race when all the runners take off
    Or when you leave home to go on a vacation.

Some changes are scary

    Like a house burning down
    Or a car screeching to a stop
    Or an earthquake that shakes the ground

Some changes are both exciting and a little bit scary

    Like the first day of a new school
    Or a roller coaster ride
    Or learning to swim, or ride a bike.

How Things Change

Change happens only when something makes it happen--something inside or outside, pushing or pulling, holding or letting go, saying 'yes' or saying 'no'.

    A sturdy tree stands many years, until lighting or wind comes along
        to knock it down.
    Traffic keeps moving, until a red light tells it to stop.
    We keep drinking until we aren't thirsty anymore.

Change is like a tug-of-war with two sides pulling in opposite directions. For something to change, one side has to pull harder than the other.

    When a door is stuck, you need to push or pull hard to open it.
    An elevator has to be very strong to lift up a load of people
        weighing it down.
    Sometimes you have to argue very hard to change someone's mind.

One side is usually stronger, more important, or easier to see than the other side.

    When one team is winning, they are the stronger side at that
        moment.
    When your body is stronger than any germs, you feel healthy, not
        sick.
    When a volcano is erupting, it is so strong that not even a mountain
        can hold it down.

Changes start little by little with each side pushing or pulling against the other.

    We blow up a small balloon, and it gets bigger and bigger.
    A baby tooth ready to come out gets looser every day.
    Our bedroom starts out neat and clean, but gets messier and
        messier as time goes by.
    A cold popcorn kernel being cooked gets hotter and hotter

Turning Points

In time there comes a turning point.

    When a balloon gets too big, it pops.
    When a new tooth pushes far enough, a loose baby tooth falls out.
    At some point your room becomes so messy that you decide to
        clean it up.
    When the tiny drop of water inside a popcorn kernel turns to steam,
        the popcorn pops--all at once.

Like the popping balloon and popcorn some turning points are easy to see.

    When a match is struck, it bursts into flame
    When our sleeping bodies are rested, we wake up.
    When a piņata gets one last solid "Whack", the candy spills out.
    One day, when it is ready, a butterfly pops out of its cocoon.
    When snow on a mountain gets too deep, it falls in a thundering
        avalanche.

Other times the turning point is hard to see, but it still happens.

    Children grow a little every day, until one day there they are--
        all grown up.
    Over many, many years, wind and rain can change mountains into
        grains of sand.
    If you start with a big bag of Halloween candy, and eat a little
        every day, one day it becomes more empty than full.
    Icy winters change into balmy summers, day by day.

Some turning points mark an ending

    Like a street that comes to a dead end
    Or going to bed at the end of a day
    Or the last day of school before summer vacation.

Some endings are happy.

    Like the kiss at the end of a wedding.
    Or a home run that wins a ball game for your team.

Some endings are sad.

    Like falling off a bike.
    Or saying good-bye to a friend if you move away.

But since changes never stop, even endings are new beginnings.

    When the school year ends, summer vacation begins.
    If you fall off a bike, you can get up and try to ride again.
    If you move away, you can make new friends, and keep in touch
        with all your friends by email.

Circles and Spirals

Some changes go in circles, returning to where they started.

    Like a Ferris wheel that goes up and comes back down to the same
        spot.
    Or the day which turns into night and then into day
    Or the seasons--Winter--Spring--Summer--Fall--and Winter again
    Or our breathing--in and out and in

Some changes go in spirals--they look like they come back to where they started, but something is different.

    Like a winding staircase that moves in a circle, but comes around to
        a higher point.
    Or going to school and coming back home, but learning more about
        the world every day.
    Or losing something; then finding it, and then putting it in a special
        place so you won't lose it again.
    Or like children growing up to be parents with children of their own.

Making Changes

Now you know how things change. Do you also know that you are powerful and that you can make all sorts of changes?

Some changes are simple to make.

    If you don't like a TV show, you can change the channel or turn the
        TV off.
    If you don't like your hair style, you can cut it differently next
        time.

Some changes take a bit more effort.

    If you want to play the piano, you can study and practice and learn.
    If you are shy or lonely, you can join a club and find people who
        like the same things you do.
    If you are mean to someone, you can say you're sorry.
    And if someone is mean to you, you can learn to forgive.

In our world, if you work with other people, you can help make many changes.

    For safer streets people can work to put up stop signs and traffic
        signals.
    To make our neighborhoods clean, we can help pick up trash.

If everyone pulls together we can learn how to solve even big problems. We can change--

    Sickness to health
    Poverty to wealth
    War to peace
    Famine to feast.


Now you are coming to another turning point--the end of this web page. Has reading this made a change in you?


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