Have you ever thought about why certain professional sports teams are more successful than others? They seem to belong to a class all their own. They possess characteristics that are inherent to winning. However, one trait stands out above the rest: resiliency.

The onset or progression of a debilitating illness or accident creates innumerable challenges and obstacles for everyone affected.   Case studies have shown that an attitude of resiliency produces outcomes that are beneficial to family members, particularly the person receiving care. Adjusting to a life of disability is challenging at best. Added demands, exhaustion and fatigue, an altered lifestyle, and an uncertain future all affect family dynamics. Take heart. There are ways to minimize, or better yet, resolve the stresses that threaten unity between each person.

Successful families demonstrate a capacity to adapt to the life of disability. They discover ways of coping with the daily strain and unpredictability of events. Each individual, and at times the one with special needs, agree to be willing and teachable when assuming new or existing responsibilities. They learn to master the art of cooperation by preferring one another instead of selfishly expecting to always be accommodated. 

Each person undertakes responsibilities according to their own strengths and abilities. They make both personal and professional sacrifices and postpone individual goals. Although life is not always predictable, daily activities and obligations are accomplished. Families who prioritize the betterment of the person receiving care and of one another tend to thrive even in the most adverse circumstances.

So what are the outcomes of a flexible attitude? Providing everyone adapts positively to change and works together as a team, they can mature through the process.  Relationships  are strengthened. Faith is deepened. Empathy for others is greater. Yes, it takes a determined, unified effort to master resiliency. But such modeling of selfless, unconditional love can be a source of inspiration to other families struggling with the challenges of disability.

Stay tuned for my next series of newsletters that will focus on caring for elderly parents and loved ones.