My niece (actually two of them) recently graduated from high school. Those of you who have been through a high school graduation probably remember the stress of this life event. Those of you who have yet to experience it…get ready!

I’m not sure what it is about high school graduation that makes parents decide that this is the time to accomplish every single home improvement project that they’ve ever thought of, but that tends to be the case. One niece had parents who tackled everything from organizing the photo albums to dry walling the garage. Curtains were sewn; desserts were made; walls and ceilings were painted; and, Pinterest projects were completed. The slideshow was created, critiqued, and modified. The internet was consulted for softserve ice cream machines available for rent (just as an FYI, if you want to rent an ice cream machine plan ahead and reserve yours early) and last minute wardrobe decisions were made. My niece walked across that stage and graduated from high school. Woot-woot!

The thing that really struck me during this exciting time though, was what happened when it was all over. We all just kind of retreated into our own spaces and sought out some quiet. It’s like for several weeks of preparation we were all a little bit elevated in our crisis cycle. I’m reminded of the fact that not all triggers are negative things. My niece’s graduation was not a bad thing at all, but it did certainly create more stress in the lives of many people. There were a few flare-ups here and there (times we probably moved up to escalation) but because the increased stress last over the course of several weeks it was sort of a slow burn. When the trigger was removed (actually it couldn’t be removed completely, but once it was over) everyone made those lateral moves across to the stabilization phase and then ultimately down into post crisis drain. It is something that I teach on a regular basis, but it was a new perspective to be involved with it on a personal level. It was also interesting to see how the stress impacted everyone in the house – not just the graduate and the parents. The siblings were impacted and other adults that were helping out were as well.

We remind folks all the time to be aware of how much of an impact stress can have on people. I wonder how often we miss that in our own lives.

Nikki Wince – Mandt Faculty Supervisor