What is resilience?
It has to do with elasticity, rebounding or springing back.
Resilience is important to character and self-esteem. It is the basic element in surviving the ups and downs of life.
The thing is that we can’t actually make sure nothing bad happens. All we can do is teach our children, and ourselves, how to bounce back from the bad things that inevitably do happen.
From an emotional perspective resilience is the behavior that pushes us forward through our fear, anger, pain, frustration, or sadness/depression
When thinking about the important things we want to encourage in our children, resilience is high on the list. It’s the ability to take things in stride, to get back on the horse after you’ve been thrown, and to keep trying when you feel you’ve failed.
An important component of resilience is to not be immobilized by a failure, loss, or mistake. It’s being able to push on in the face of something fearful or difficult, as well as remembering when you were successful in a similar activity and generalizing that success to the task at hand.
An example of using past successes to create a new success is to link learning a new skill with the success of having already learned a skill. Remind your child when he or she previously was able to go through a set of events that were difficult at first and then became easier. This is especially helpful with new motor and developmental skills like reading, writing, starting a new school, or a new physical activity – “remember when you started gymnastics you were afraid of the balance beam but now after practice you’re very good at it – it will be the same with skiing, you may fall a lot but after practice you will fall less and feel more confident.” You’re linking the success of the other activity to the new activity and providing the path to success – reminding them they already have the tools to do the task at hand because they have already successfully used those tools.
Having compassion toward yourself and your own mistakes, role modeling how to rebound is the most effective way to teach resilience. Because children incorporate into their set of behaviors what we say and do, the more we can model resiliency the better their chances are of developing that characteristic in themselves.
For the next few days observe what you are modeling to your children. Is it perseverance and resilience or is it something different? You can use the same technique to remind yourself that you have the tools to get through whatever activity or task that is difficult for you right now. And if what you are facing is something that you have never faced before, try to break down the components of the task to see if you can make connections to other successes in your life.
See you tomorrow.