I am often asked, by teachers and directors alike, to recommend books on curriculum, leadership and numerous early childhood topics. There are many books available; one of my favorites that I hold close to my heart is Who Moved My Cheese? by Dr. Spencer Johnson. This book is written for all ages and takes less than an hour to read, but its unique insights can last for a lifetime!
Who Moved My Cheese? is a simple parable that reveals profound truths. It is an amusing and enlightening story of four characters that live in a maze and look for cheese to nourish them and make them happy. Cheese is a metaphor for what you want to have in life–whether it is a good job, a loving relationship, money (or a possession), health or spiritual peace of mind. The maze is where you look for what you want: the organization or company you work in, or the family or community you live in.
The four imaginary characters depicted in this story are mice! We meet Sniff, who sniffs out change early; Scurry, who scurries into action; Hem, who denies and resists change, fearing it will lead to something worse; and Haw, who learns to adapt in time when he sees that change can lead to something better. Do these mice sound like anyone on your staff or in your organization?
Our field is changing and the new initiatives that we continue to learn about are making us feel nervous, scared and overwhelmed. But at the same time, we are excited that the quality of early childhood education is finally moving in the right direction. We all share something in common: a need to find our way in the Maze and succeed in changing times. Change will happen whether we are prepared or not. We must find our own way, beyond our comfort level and fears. No one else can do it for us or talk us into it. We have to see the advantage and change ourselves.
In summary, this book is a simple read. Share it with your staff, parents and a friend–or just make time to read it for yourself. I walked away with a few important lessons that are listed as “The Handwriting on the Wall”
Change Happens–They Keep Moving the Cheese
Anticipate Change–Get Ready for the Cheese to Move
Monitor Change–Smell the Cheese Often so You Know When It Is Getting Old
Adapt To Change Quickly–The Quicker You Let Go of Old Cheese, the Sooner You Can Enjoy New Cheese
Change–Move With the Cheese
Enjoy Change–Savor the Adventure and Enjoy the Taste of New Cheese!
Be Ready To Change Quickly And Enjoy It Again and Again!