Do you ever have that sinking feeling that "It is happening to me again?" The following can support you in noticing how and when resilience reveals itself in you and your children's lives.
When challenges and obstacles occur, we often admire those that seem to act with ease and do or say the right things. The reason for this admiration is that the individual has earned it. How they earn it isn't any different from anyone else. We all experience trying and difficult times throughout life. What sets some people apart is not only the hardship they've endured, but in the responsible way they have chosen to manage their feelings and emotions about it. More importantly, their view of themselves has little, if any, ring of victimhood in it.
The critical elements of resilience are:
To effectively communicate when challenged
To maintain a positive and outgoing view of ourselves
To manage the stress and emotions in a responsive manner
Reaction versus response usually ends up much like adding fuel to the fire. The greatest of accomplishments often have come with a heavy dose of resilience. The area of our lives where we learn to expand our ability to "stay the course" is in our beliefs — some very serviceable; others not so. Thus, if you are seeking resilience, you may want to start by questioning some of your beliefs.
Consider Thomas Edison's philosophy about his many attempts to create the light bulb. "I have not failed. I've just found 10,000 ways that won't work." Another example would be Nelson Mandela's heroic battle to defeat apartheid in South Africa. Both of these individuals possessed a certain belief that their mission would be successful regardless of obstacles and challenges. Viktor Frankl, author of Man's Search for Meaning, tells his story of perseverance in the face of seemingly certain death every single day when he was imprisoned in a World War II concentration camp.
Our history will be the best indicator of how well we can fare with resilience. Unfortunately, when we review the past, we tend to focus on the negatives and rarely look for the opportunities to grow in such events. Now is the chance. Most of us have at least a few instances of success in our past and we can reflect on these times as good evidence of how we acted upon supportive beliefs. Learning isn't just about repeating failures, with only the pain as the byproduct. We must ardently seek the lesson in each moment.
5 Questions that will lead you to look towards resilience:
1. Have you experienced success in your past and what behaviors made the difference?
2. Have you experienced failure in your past and what did you learn?
3. Are the lessons from failures and the results from successes present today?
4. Are you in regular communication with a support team to keep you on track?
5. Are you taking full responsibility for your life?
If these are questions are difficult to answer, ask a friend, a coach, a mentor, or a therapist to help you in separating your supportive beliefs from those that keep you small. The key is to stay in the solution, not the problem. Can some of life's challenges be problematic? Of course! Again, it's a matter of choosing response versus reaction to bring desired results. Most failure occurs because people either fail to effectively plan, they don't effectively communicate their plan or they simply give up in the face of adversity. Do you want to add your dreams to the junk pile or the mountain of jewels? It is truly your choice.
Of greater concern, what we are teaching our children when we lack resilience? Studies have shown that resilience is ordinary, not extraordinary. Most of what we need to make our dreams come true lies within. It is in learning how to harness our strengths that success is made. Can we allow our youth to see us give up or quit because life is too tough to handle?
The model that children most likely follow and truly want to follow is that of the parent or guardian. We have a supreme responsibility to set the course for not only our success, but for the success of generations to come. This can be accomplished by continued commitment and passion for our dreams and making them happen. It can also occur when we are challenged and in how we manage such obstacles. Our youth today is watching our every move. They are looking for model behavior to help them succeed in a world that has greater demands every day. We are tasked with demonstrating the commitment necessary to fulfill our desires through our resilience. The results will show in the choices that our children make, and we must accept responsibility for those choices before they are made.
Here are 5 hints that resilience is showing up in your child's life:
1. Is your child expressing a desire to improve their grades?
2. Does your child ask for your assistance in their projects?
3. Are your child's accomplishments being acknowledged by them?
4. Can your child tell a story of how they have overcome a challenge in life?
5. Are you identifying completion in your child's activities?
These are simple ways to see if it is happening or not. If not, you may want to emphasize some of these areas with your child after having taken responsibility for your part. Since each child is as unique, it is important to discover what motivates them and then support, reward, and discipline accordingly. How it worked for us may not be how it needs to work for them.
Remember, children get most of their input from parents and guardians, but not all. Particularly in the digital age, influences abound and we must be conscious of what our children’s interests are and support them as long as they are nurturing and beneficial. Sometimes seeing the benefit is the hard part for us adults. Give children the room they need to express themselves.
Most important to remember is that resilience comes from experience and taking risks. "Wisdom is knowledge and the awareness of its limitations." — Viktor Frankl.
Originally published on YourTango.