As an Englishman, I was just able to enjoy the greatest World Cup in my living memory. England made it to the Semi-finals only to be knocked out by Croatia on July 11. From my home in Nova Scotia, I could see the nation was abuzz; even family members who never discuss it were celebrating and commiserating through group Whatsapp chats. Now my home nation has to come to terms with the journey, for now, being over. The young men who played in Russia average at 26 years of age, and have many more opportunities ahead of them. Resilience is crucial. To do well in upcoming tournaments, they must bounce back from their recent defeat and get ready for the next challenge. The important thing to remember here is that England improved to get this far and continue to grow as a team, yet the team they faced were in the same position and better on the day. Focus on personal growth, or growth as a team, rather than competing with others, is a great trait for a resilient mindset.
The football (soccer) analogy above is just one example of the relevance of resilience in the world we live in. Over 20 million people in the UK alone watched the team lose to Croatia; they analysed each mistake and they placed blame on individuals as well as the team. But for the different individuals, our World Cup loss may resonate and manifest in different ways. Perhaps it is a mistake at a piano recital, a second place result in a swim gala, or a low grade in a test. Maybe it is not the size of the crowd but the importance of those within; a grandparent who travelled just to see the baseball game, a parent who cancelled work to watch the performance, or a sibling who looks up to their brother or sister.
Building resilience in our youngest members of society has a relevance that cannot be ignored. Emotionally, genetically and socially, we have an inherent drive to help our children achieve success. Success however, should not be confused or measured by income. Resilient individuals are those who have a set of assumptions or attitudes about themselves that influence their behaviors and the skills they develop (Brooks & Goldstein, 2004). The responsibility of developing a resilient mindset falls on schools as well as families. It is important that children have adults around them to act as role models of resilience; adults that can demonstrate strategies and be a resource for when work gets difficult or when life presents challenges (Gardiner, 2014). Life is not easy; there will be challenging moments for our children as young ones, as they go through adolescence, and as they become adults. To overcome challenges, we need to be able to pick ourselves up and carry on - we need resilience.
Source: Greg Williams, Creative Commons
Our innate desire to protect our children by avoiding ‘stress’ in their lives can actually be more harmful than good. Lents (2016) discusses the two forms of stress: Chronic vs. Acute. Chronic stress is caused by long-term neglect, sensory deprivation, excessive worry, violence and other such acts. Chronic stress is something children should be protected from. Acute stress, on the other hand, such as short emotional bursts in play, competitive sports, and risky adventuring, can actually be beneficial and necessary to a child’s development.
At The Booker School, we encourage students to challenge themselves and find their own limits. We allow for this in the playground with tree climbing, rope swinging, and balancing activities. We promote this in the classroom by encouraging students to make and learn from mistakes in math, in public speaking at assemblies and in musical performances. We hope our students will embrace the pressures carefully crafted within the school environment. There is an expectation for students to extend themselves, develop a sense of responsibility, and a desire for personal growth that come with the habits of a life-long learner. We teach our students to learn from their mistakes, but not to be afraid to make them. We believe that to fail is healthy; many in the world of education describe the word ‘FAIL’ as the ‘First Attempt In Learning’. We believe that by developing a growth mindset and by promoting resilience, children can grow up healthier, happier and ready to take risks.
If you would like to talk about the relevance of resilience, educational philosophy, or even read our policies at The Booker School, please get in touch with me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Brooks & Goldstein, 2004 - The Power of Resilience: Achieving Balance, Confidence, and Personal Strength in Your Life
Gardiner, Steve. 2014 - Supporting Student Resilience in the Classroom - Edutopia.org
Lents, Nathan. 2016 - Yes, Overprotective Parenting Harms Kids - Psychologytoday.com