Like many others I find myself hearing the words “transition” and “change” a lot lately.
In much of my focus as of late, transition comes in the personal. Over the prior few weeks, starting just before the election, my father transitioned from nursing care to hospice care as he’s moving into his life’s final stages. There have been ups and downs, but the outcome is inevitable and quite certain.
He will be leaving us in the coming weeks. Nothing I can say or do will change that, as much as I want it to. We’ve been blessed in that his children and loved ones from far and wide have had the opportunity to see him at least one last time before he leaves us in the physical sense.
As we did when my mother passed away 18 years ago today, my siblings and I will assume new roles in our extended family. As sadness passes, we’re thankful for the gifts of knowledge, experience and history our parents have passed on to us and as well as lessons learned from the challenges they faced and overcame while we were growing up.
For me, all this is happening in parallel with the political as we watch leaders prepare to leave office, with new ones coming in. Some will move on and pass from our public consciousness. Yet others will assume greater and more important roles of leadership.
This transition is part of growth and change. It’s inevitable and certain. Rather than fear it, or be uneasy with it, we should view it as a time of possibility. We should embrace it as an opportunity to be greater than we are today.
As we wish our loved family members might be able to be with us forever, of course some might wish things to continue as they always have. But that’s a false wish, and one that is impossible to fulfill.
People find comfort in the familiar, and actively avoid change. But life is change. You can’t avoid life.
With changes starting to appear evident in our government, occasionally I’m reading a couple of people lamenting that “they wish this person could stay in their job,” or “that’s the way it’s always been done.” But that seems disingenuous.
People used to cross the state in horse-drawn wagons, too. But as we learned a better way, we changed. We found opportunity. We grew.
I’ve spoken with some of our elected officials recently as they prepare for their new roles. Some are keeping existing staff. Some are moving people into new responsibilities. But even as some might want to strive for continuity as they transition into a new role, even they don’t get a choice about change. Even for those who want to keep people, it may not be preventable. People retire. People move on for their own growth.
The most significant change South Dakotans will see comes in the Executive Branch directly under the leadership of our new Governor as she prepares to take office.
This week, our Governor-Elect Kristi Noem issued a call for our state’s best and brightest to join her in her upcoming administration asking for those “who understand this role won’t be about them, but about producing real results for the people of South Dakota.”
In this time of transition under Governor Noem, our state has a rare and unique opportunity for a new course, for not just itself, but for the people who are chosen by Governor Noem to take part. It’s an exciting time in our State’s history, especially to watch a familiar friend to many as being that great agent of change.
We don’t know what will happen because it hasn’t been written yet.
As we take the knowledge, experience and history we’ve been granted from those who went before, we embark on a new adventure of optimism for the future. We build on the lessons of those who’ve gone before to create a new “what can be.”
Change is here. And so are new opportunities.
I’m excited to see what will unfold.