Being resilient is a wonderful quality. It is the ability to bounce back from the many challenges that life throws our way. And the truth is that we can either bounce back or be swallowed by despair. I am not saying it’s easy. Challenges can be extremely painful and difficult. It requires great inner strength in order to learn from our experiences and to be able to move on. And that is the essence of resilience.
As I’ve mentioned before, I work in a large school and see many different types of children and their many responses to the challenges they face be it academic, social, sports-related or interactions with adults. Some children may have difficulties, but they are able to bounce back and surmount the many challenges they face. I often see kids that have many challenges respond more efficiently than their challenge free peers. But I have also seen the opposite.
Here are seven of the interesting qualities that I have noticed are prevalent among resilient children.
Resilient children are positive. They look at the world around them as being a positive place. It is not that they are ignorant about the evil and negatives that exist in the world but rather that they choose to focus on the good. They choose to focus on their own “circle of influence,” a term coined by Steven Covey in his book The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. He explains that we should exert our efforts on those things that we can do something about (our circle of influence) rather than despairing over the things that we have no ability to change.
Mr. Covey is extremely insightful and explains at length the habits that help a person to be more effective.
Resilient children are not always happy when things don’t go their way but they are able to understand that they have the ability to correct or make the situation better. Even if they cannot correct the situation, these children are able to view the negatives from a realistic perspective. They realize that either the situation is temporary or there are other alternatives that they can focus on. This adds up to resilience.
Genuinely Like People and Respect Authority
Resilient children do not feel threatened by authority figures in their lives. They respect authority and can form positive relationships with the authority figures around them. They genuinely like people and want to develop positive relationships with others. It is not that they blindly accept the authority of others, but generally, they feel that adults have their best interests in mind and therefore have positive feelings towards others. They are generally friendly and willing to help others.
These children are well-liked by others. They are secure in who they are and do not generally get into fights over turf or jealousy. They realize that friends change and rather than feeling jealous when their friends form new relationships, they are adaptable and easily formulate new relationships. This does not mean that they are never hurt by their friends or changing alliances. They have feelings like others. However, they tend to be able to move on without being vindictive and forming retaliative alliances.
Resilient Children Don’t Blame Others
Resilient children take responsibility for their own actions. If they make mistakes, they don’t look to blame others. They are able to accept their failings and work to improve them. They do not give up or lose self-confidence when they make a mistake but formulate a plan of action to do better next time. These children are not uniquely gifted or necessarily smarter than their peers but they understand that the buck stops with them. It is clear to them that they must exert their own effort if they want to do better next time.
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They Are Willing to Work Hard
Resilient children intrinsically understand that in order to succeed they have to work hard. They are not afraid to work hard and redo something that wasn’t done right the first time. They understand that no one else can do the things they need to do. The effort is the key to their success. These children will not despair if they don’t understand something. They will seek out the help they need in order to succeed and be willing to follow the system and advice that they receive. It is these kids that I often see working with their teachers during their lunchtime or breaks to make sure that they have the information that they need.
Resilient children are never satisfied with doing just enough. When they tackle a project they give “their all” and are not disheartened with a less than perfect grade. They have put in their best and will use the lessons they have learned to grow their abilities next time.
Resilient children usually have a strong support system at home. However, the support system does not allow them to be overly dependent. These children have a meaningful place in the family structure and have clear responsibilities at home. They are supported but not coddled. They have defined responsibilities such as daily chores at home and their efforts enhance the daily and efficient running of the home.
Ability to Problem Solve
These children learn from a young age that they are capable of solving their own problems. Although these parents carefully monitor their children, they do not necessarily step in to provide their children with all of the answers. These children have learned to problem solve. They do not have all the answers, but as above they have learned to be independent, think for themselves and solve small problems for themselves.
They Have a Strong Belief System
These children have a strong belief system and have learned clear values. They don’t fall prey to fads and passing pop theories because they have values that are consistent and emphasized on a regular basis. there is stability in their lives and consistency in the values that they see at home. Of course, this value system is different for each child and each family but the important thing is that these children are not confused. Certain practices have been clearly set out and help these children to know what is right and what is expected.
There are many ways for children to be resilient. This is a quality that allows children to prosper even under very challenging conditions. However, by developing the above qualities in our children we are giving them the ability to overcome difficulties and setting them on a positive path for the future. By cultivating the above qualities, our children will be more resilient and able to overcome any challenges that they may face.
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