Resilience on my mind

slice of life updated

Early this morning I read this article on a Facebook friend’s page. And these words have been rolling around my brain ever since;

“What if it has never been our job—or our right—to protect our children from every incoming bump and bruise? What if, instead, our obligation is to point them directly toward life’s inevitable trials and tribulations and say, ‘Honey, that challenge was made for you. It might hurt, but it will also nurture wisdom, courage, and character. I can see what you’re going through, and it’s big. But I can also see your strength, and that’s even bigger. This won’t be easy, but we can do hard things.’”

Thinking about resilience, failure, and perseverance in children is something we teachers do.  I worry that today’s children can’t wander their neighborhoods unattended for hours like we did. I wonder about everyone, win or lose, getting a trophy. I wish we parents didn’t feel the need to work so hard to keep the safety net strategically positioned below our kids. I wrestle with questions like: How will this next generation develop coping skills? And how will they learn to push through pain and disappointment?  I know people have written about this subject A LOT. But until a few years ago, it was something I thought about more in the abstract. Until a few years ago I was one step removed from this.

A few years ago our family fell apart. It was excruciating. I’d have done anything to avoid the pain I knew our children were experiencing. My struggles aside, I was afraid it would never soften, that they would be forever broken.

But, as I sat in my bed this morning reading the article linked above, I realized that my children are stronger for the adversity that our family weathered. I’m not justifying divorce, and I would not wish the pain on anyone. But I see strength in my two girls now that was not there before. They are compassionate, insightful, grateful, flexible and independent in ways that they were not before.

17 thoughts on “Resilience on my mind

  1. I love this and would love a copy for our school community. It takes a brave person to be able to teach these skills.It’s much easier for us to put our protective wings over them and huddle them close. It’s a tricky business this child rearing!

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  2. I think you’re right, too, Lisa. I’ve always thought that our job as parents is to raise our children to live without us. That may sound terrible, but we want them to know they can survive anything, can continue a life and be joyful despite the challenges. My granddaughter started a new school this year (2nd grade) & due to strange circumstances she had to start on the second day. My daughter said it was so hard to send her off & she was so scared. But my daughter praised her courage & said only, “youve got this.” I know you can do it! That’s what parents do, help their kids do hard things! It’s a post worth sharing!

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  3. This is a courageous and insightful share, Lisa. I think about this a lot with my own girls, torn between wanting to protect them from life’s hardships and trials and wanting them to develop their own inner strength and independence. I’m glad you’re seeing flexibility and independence in your children. Thanks for sharing this.

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  4. It is such a tough job parenting sometimes, isn’t it? We want to protect our kids, but know that pain and struggle are a part of life and make our kids stronger in the end. Now that my son is away at college where I can’t swoop in and rescue him, I am really learning that lesson. But we get through. All of us. And we are better for it.

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  5. Adversity can make us stronger as you discuss in the post. I can’t imagine any life not having some adversity, regardless of how much one attempts to shield. Love allows children to weather the unpleasant. Your post got me thinking about my own son and the challenges he and I have faced this last year. Thanks.

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  6. I really needed to hear this today. My three girls are all going through challenges of their own. While I try to self differentiate from their pain, I’ve tried to shift my focus onto the growth they will each gain from it. Thanks for reminding me that pain and struggle always include growth and renewal.

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  7. There is so much we can learn through difficult times. That article reminded me of a section of Malala Yousafzai’s book that always stuck with me. Her dad told her, “You have been through a great struggle. Now it’s time for great joy.” I always found this to be true in my life. After difficult times, good times came. While struggles don’t go away, we always seem to come out stronger.

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