resilience

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Our soaring temperatures and lack of rain is leaving us all breathless in the midwest.  Today as we limped through the garden I noticed the leaves on our baby Rosebud tree were wrinkled; tips facing the earth.  Dave, dripping with sweat, said that they were in need of a cooling rain, hopefully lasting two full days.  We can hope, but the outlook over the next five days says no to that wish.  We continue our walk looking at the state of all the perennials.  It’s morning and I don’t even hear our cardinals singing, not a bird at any of their feeders. Even the hearty blackbirds and our chunky squirrels are in hiding, fearing the soaring sun.

On our walk, I notice a plant here and there that is thriving despite their apparent lack of water and lack of shade.  They even look cheerful to me.  Their stalks are facing upward and they are full of life and vigor.

They have resilience, I thought.

Resiliency is the ability to spring back from and successfully adapt to adversity.

I think about my daughter, Kelly, arriving with her brother at age 8 to a group home in our area.  How was she able to survive this group home to foster home system?  Her brother didn’t.

I’m curious about resiliency …I know it has been studied.  So I googled and found some reasons that my sweet Kelly has survived.

To summarize some of my favorite quotes in the article:

                   When adversity is relieved and basic human needs are restored, then resilience has a chance to emerge. (Maston, 1994)

                   Kids can walk around trouble, if there is some place to walk to, and someone to walk with” (McLaughlin et al, 1994)

Just like our growing plants in the yard need Bumper Crop, insecticide, water and sun to grow; our children at home and at our schools basic needs are important.  Food, shelter, clothing, and above all…love.  Love means walking through a storm or drought with a child. Sometimes it even means absorbing some of that loss yourself.  It could mean finding a friend for a child, making a phone call when abuse is suspected, writing a cheery note and sneaking it into their school desk when they are at lunch.  It may mean considering sponsoring a child in a third world country , working at a food pantry or inviting one of your young neighbors over to make chocolate chip cookies and lemonade on a hot summer day.

Notice those children that are withering in the hot sun.

Take a risk…be that place to walk to.


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About Judson RISE professor

lifelong teacher who is semi-retired (does this sound better?) who loves God, family and laughing... who hates social injustice... who wants to write every day... who needs to exercise every day... who blog hops... who wants to live her everyday life led by her savior, Jesus Christ!

6 responses »

  1. I enjoyed the quotes that you shared with us, especially with your reflections accompanying them, linking specifically to teaching. It is always amazing to think about resiliency.

  2. It’s been hot here, too, but we have finally gotten the rain we desperately needed. I hope yours comes soon. I was so despondent over the withering losses that I never even thought about the plants that did remain. Thanks for seeing them and looking further to get to the reasons behind it. Your comparisons to children are so insightful and a good reminder of what we all need to do – “Notice those children that are withering in the hot sun.”

  3. “Notice those children that are withering in the hot sun.” We have the opportunity in everyday moments at home and in our classrooms, sometimes in extraordinary circumstances to help a child be resilient- may each of us be “someone to walk with” for the children who need us.

  4. Notice those children that are withering in the hot sun.

    Take a risk…be that place to walk to.

    Thank you for your honesty, and for the reminder to take a risk for a child.
    I am so sorry that her brother didn’t survive the system. You don’t tell what happened. I grieve for the little boy.
    I pray you have a special time with family in Costa Rica.
    Thank you for sharing from your heart.

  5. I think about these kinds of children often – because I am friends with parents of foster children, and those who teach special education and other children at risk. My daughter works with young teens who are often a product of failed resiliency. My young preschoolers are enrolled in my class because they need to build this intangible quality into their little lives.
    I love the research that has shown that it is usually because of one or two powerful relationships that children facing incredible odds make it in the world. It empowers me to stay focused because who knows, I might be that one person.

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