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Understanding Endings
Every transition begins with an Ending. We cannot begin a new project or new stage of life until we have released our hold on "the way things were" and accepted the loss of past behaviors, attitudes, beliefs, hopes and fears.

Even when the old ways may have been bad, hurtful, or unpleasant, people may grieve the past and become angry, frightened, sad or confused. But mourning this loss, rather than avoiding it, is the first step toward transitioning to something new.

For example, a grassroots organization had always used confrontational methods--whether picketing, walk-outs, or protest marches--to push for improvements in their neighborhood. But to change the anti-gay culture in local high schools, the organization decided to use a collaborative approach, consulting with school principals and teachers. Some members weren't comfortable with this new method. To them, cooperating with the administration would mean giving up control of the agenda and diluting their efforts. They couldn't let go of their old ways.

How do I know I’m at an Ending?

  • I am angry all the time at the people who put me in this position.
  • I don’t want to talk or think about the future. I just want things to stay the same.
  • I am afraid of what the future will bring. It can only be bad.
  • I feel completely helpless, like I’ve lost all control over my life.
  • I don’t trust others to be honest when talking with me.

Keep in Mind:

Start with an Ending
Jim Welsh thought a Challenge Academy, run by his state’s National Guard for at-risk youth, would be an ideal, safe place for foster care youth transitioning to independence. But the state’s manager of foster care didn’t like Jim’s idea at all. His proposal looked like it was dead in the water. more >

Honor your Past
Shannon entered the foster care system at age 12 and bounced from one foster home to another, losing many of her personal belongings along the way. But nine years  — and 15 placements later — Shannon still held on to a raggedy teddy bear that her mother had given her as a child. more >

Beware of Resonance
After spending most of his childhood in foster care, Michael couldn't wait to leave his group home. But that first night in his new apartment, he felt uncomfortably alone-just like when his parents had given him up years earlier. To forget, he started drinking again and would stay out all night with friends or crash at other people's places. more >

Additional Stories about Endings
The Power of the Specific
Expect and Accept the “Signs of Chaos”
Sharing an Ending
Start with an Ending

 

 

Start with an Ending

Jim Welsh thought a Challenge Academy, run by his state’s National Guard for at-risk youth, would be an ideal, safe place for foster care youth transitioning to independence. But the state’s manager of foster care didn’t like Jim’s idea at all. His proposal looked like it was dead in the water.
more >



Video: Letting Go of Police Distrust

Communities facing tensions between citizens and police will need to acknowledge and let go of many past behaviors and attitudes before more peaceful relationships can take hold.  Richard Biehl, former Executive Director of the Cincinnati Community Police Partnering Center (CCPPC) and current Dayton Police Chief, shares a few examples.
more >

Additional videos:

Richard Biehl: Letting Go of Old Policing Ways >

Carl Johnson: I Wasn’t a Bad Kid >

Dee Perez: From Protestors to Collaborators – Loss of Power? >

Christopher Smith:
What happens when we face multiple traumatic Endings? >

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