Experiences for Resilience: #1

Teach your kids about resilience and what it actually takes to build it.

Teach your kids that, like muscles, they can build resilience. A key ingredient to building resilience is facing difficult situations. Therefore, stress, failure, and working through challenging problems can all be good things. When we face difficult situations, we learn from the situation, we grow, and we ultimately strengthen our resilience.

Working our way through difficult events helps us become stronger for the next stressful thing that comes our way. Coping becomes easier. Conversely, avoiding these challenges only makes us scared, helpless, weak, and anxious.

To help teach your kids, use stories about people who have developed resilience from overcoming difficult situations. Use fictional characters from their favourite books. You can also use true stories about scientists, politicians, athletes, artists, or even people in your own lives who have overcome challenges. In any story, highlight the challenges the heroes faced, how they overcame their challenges, what they learned, and how they grew.

Asking for help

Another key question to ask is who helped the heroes. No one became the hero all by themselves. The same is true in any story: All resilient and successful people have had other people in the sidelines helping them along. And, most important, the most successful heroes advocate for themselves by asking for help (and, at the very least, accepting help).

Harry Potter had the help of friends, family, and some pretty incredible professors. Any Disney princess had the help of some guide (or fairy godmother), family member, or creature. In a love story, perhaps there was a flight attendant who miraculously found one last airplane ticket that allowed the man to get on the plane before his love left forever.

Even Superman had the guidance and support of loving parents in two worlds, plus mentors and friends along the way. Actually, the story of Christopher Reeves himself is an amazing one to teach resilience about. He became paralyzed from the neck down after falling off a horse. That event was, of course, very hard for him but he endeavoured to make the best of the situation. 

One day, he proclaimed that paralysis is a choice. He stated that he knew many able-bodied people who were paralyzed in an emotional or spiritual sense. Reeve found new and meaningful ways to continue making a difference in the world.

So, while resilience is facing a tough situation and moving forward or getting back up to try again, what is even more important is that they have someone there to help them when they do. Highlight the supporting players in all of the stories you share. Ask your kids how the hero asked for help. Who helped the hero and how they did so. Make a mind map of all of the people who helped support the hero in your stories. In doing so, you teach your kids that asking for and receiving help is not only okay – it is an important part of being resilient.

Move on to #2: Make it Personal

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