Once we had a better understanding about protective factors, we spent some time discussing resiliency. Most of us define resiliency as the ability to bounce back from life’s difficulties. I like the way Dr. Joel Bennet defines it in his book,
Raw Coping Power
“The ability to recover from adversity, to bounce back to a normal or high level of functioning, and also learn from having gone through the experience of adversity.”
Allow me to highlight an important point Dr. Bennet makes in his definition: “... and also
learn from having gone through the experience of adversity."
It is so important for our youth to experience and learn from adversity. And don't we want them to experience adversity while they are still living under our care and we can help walk them through the experiences?
We want them to fail, and they need to experience failure in order to grow into the people they are meant to be. We don’t want them to wait until they are off at college or out on their own before they fail. Who will guide them then? Our world? Is that what you want teaching your youth about how to bounce back? Okay, I know, the “big bad world” isn't always big and bad. There are good people, good programs, good teachings; however, there are also ones that aren’t so good.
Yikes! Do I sound like I’m preaching?? I hope not. As much as we don’t want our youth to experience the pain of failure, when it happens may it be a precious teaching moment. May you learn as a family that life doesn’t always go our way or as planned. We don’t always get that seat in student government or that role in the musical or that position on the basketball team or that 98 on the test. And it may just be in the failure we find our purpose and calling. Or, perhaps, we find strength, compassion, empathy or life appreciation. And about bouncing back ...
The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)
has started defining resilience as “
the ability to bounce forward."
Isn’t that awesome! Let’s take what we’ve learned through our adversities and failures and use it to propel us forward to be the people we are meant to be.
Here’s a challenge for you:
You can either prepare the road for your child or prepare your child for the road
” ~ Kari Kampakis
What if we are okay with adversity and failures for our youth? What if we help our youth learn what they are meant to learn and become who they are meant to become through it all? It is not just the good that produces goodness within each person; it is all of life’s experiences that meld together to form the resilient person called “me”. Let’s help our youth be the best “me” they are meant to be!
The parents at the Middle School decided that was the exact road they wanted to take. Maybe you would like to join them.