As you probably know by now (at least I hope you do), our theme for this year is GRIT: Growth, Resilience, Integrity, and Tenacity. Each quarter we will look at one of the four defining words in our theme. Last quarter we spent time looking at what it means to have a growth mindset and how to develop it in our children. This quarter we are looking at what it means to be resilient and how we can encourage this in our students.
The first thing we need to do is to define “resilience.” At an initial glance, many might think that grit and resilience are the same thing, or at least similar. They are actually different, and yet you need one to have the other. Here are a number of different ways that describe what it means to be resilient:
- being able to “bounce back” from difficult times, setbacks, and other significant challenges
- the process of adapting well in the face of adversity, trauma, tragedy, threats, or significant sources of stress
- the ability of each of us to “bounce” back stronger, wiser, and more personally powerful
- being able to not only survive, but also learn to thrive
- the ability to bungy jump through the pitfalls of life
To have grit, you will need to be resilient. As adults we have learned that life is going to sucker punch us from time to time, and we will get knocked down. There will be hardships and difficulties along the way. An important “skill” in life then is the ability to get back up.
So the big question is, why are some people more resilient than others? Why can some people bounce back from adversity while others wilt and never really ever recover? Many of us might think this ability is related to DNA, temperament, outlook, or personality — characteristics that are pretty much out of our control. The reality is, however, that it is not out of our control, and years of research have shown that, like grit and a growth mindset, it can be learned.
Next week we will take a look at how we can begin to teach and encourage the ability of resiliency in our children.