Two drinking straws helping kids (and adults) learn the virtue of flexibility.

The What, Why and How of Flexibility

From The Family Virtues Guide

What is Flexibility?

Flexibility is being open to the need for change. Many unexpected things happen to us. We cannot control the things that happen. When upsetting things happen, this can be a message that we need to do things differently or improve ourselves in some way. Being flexible means that instead of just getting upset, you see difficulties as a challenge. You are willing to make necessary changes.

Flexibility means not always having it your own way. You are open to the opinions and feelings of others. With flexibility you are willing to change your mind. If something doesn’t work, you try a new way.

Flexibility mean getting rid of bad habits and learning new ones. You look at yourself and decide if you need to change the way you are acting.

Making changes doesn’t mean you are losing yourself, only that you are becoming better.

Why practice it?

When you are flexible, you adjust and adapt. You keep making positive changes. When you are open to change, you can accomplish more. Instead of doing things the same old way, you think of new and better ways to do them.

When things get tough, flexible people bend and become stronger. They keep learning and growing.

When people have a hard time being flexible, they keep doing things the same old way when new ways are needed.

When we don’t practice flexibility, we become rigid. We get angry and upset when things don’t go our way or when they don’t happen as we expected.

People who have no flexibility don’t like surprises.

How do you practice it?

Flexibility begins by recognizing a need to change something in yourself. It could be how you get things done or the need to acquire one of the virtues. If something in the way you act isn’t working for you, this is probably a sign that there is a need for change. If something keeps going wrong in an area of your life, this is a test which you need to accept and embrace. It could be teaching you what is next for you in your spiritual growth.

Once you see the need to change, want to change, and decide to change, then little by little, day by day, make the adjustments that mean change. Let go of old habits and learn new ones. Watch what you are doing, ask God to help you make the changes you need to make, than act differently. Then you are practicing flexibility.

When you practice flexibility, you accept things you cannot change. You don’t insist on having your own way all the time. You don’t try to control other people. You know you can only control yourself. When you are flexible, you enjoy surprises.

What would flexibility look like if…

  • You keep making the same mistakes over and over?
  • You decide you want to change one of your habits?
  • Your family had something fun planned and it had to be cancelled at the last minute?
  • You notice that some of your friends are avoiding you?
  • The way you are doing a job isn’t working very well?

Signs of success

You are practicing flexibility when you…

  • Are willing to change bad habits
  • Ask the Creator for help
  • Try imaginative new ways of doing things
  • Don’t insist on always getting your own way
  • Can adjust when something unexpected happens
  • Go with the flow. Trust the unexpected.

Keep trying. You need more practice when…

  • Believe that you have no room for improvement
  • Are never willing to change your habits
  • Believe that difficulties come only to punish you
  • Always do things the same old way
  • Insist on getting your own way
  • Get really upset when unexpected things happen
  • Don’t like surprises

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