Have you ever wished that you were young again? I often watch my 8 year old son, and think how wonderfully carefree 8 can be. Surrounded by love, small responsibilities, little cares, an innocent curiosity about the world and every opportunity to thrive. His experience is not every child’s experience, still, I think it to be an ideal childhood. I admit, I cannot protect him from all disappointments and difficulties; an unhelpful and unrealistic pursuit, (indeed, trials are an important part of growing up). However, my intention is to foster an environment in which he has every opportunity to thrive as a person; it’s my desire to raise resilient children.
Resilience is a ‘buzz’ word at the moment. I hear it often mentioned at school. In fact a recent report card graded ‘resilience’ as an attitude to learning; something I was never graded on as a child. I applaud this emerging approach in education. It recognises the importance of teaching children the ability to ‘bounce back’ when life throws difficulties their way; an important life skill they will frequently use.
As I ponder how to raise a resilient child, I can’t help but think, “So what happens in between the years of 8 and 38?” “Life” you may say. It seems like the business of growing up can knock some resilience out of you. Life is complicated and not always easy; sometimes it’s messy, discouraging, unexpected and challenging…Not always, but sometimes. You can get to 38, (4 kids later) and be feeling quite jaded, with a diminished ability to ‘bounce back’. Family, work, children, school… the commitments are endless and the expectations are high. Your quick snap at a slight irritation can be a sign of your weakened resilience. It’s hard trying to raise resilient children, when all the while feeling on the verge of collapse yourself. It is at this moment you wish you were 8 again, without a care in the world.
While you may feel at times like giving up, part of being grown-up is facing responsibility and challenges in a mature, healthy way; modelling to children what it looks like to be resilient. Sometimes we can get this right, and sometimes we can get it wrong.
You may be that parent who didn’t have the greatest role models growing up and so the task of raising kids is a challenge. You may be the parent who takes to the job naturally, but has little community support ( either distance from parents or a feeling of isolation); therefore making normal life seem a whole heap harder. You may be the parent, who did the toddler and primary years well, but got to teens and found family life fell apart. You may be a parent to some pretty happy kids, but still keen to grow and learn in the ways of good parenting.
My hope is this website and blog will be a help, a resource and an encouragement to any parent desiring to be a little more resilient in the challenge of raising kids. I am keen to explore healthy habits for both parents and children, sharing along the way my own journey of joys and trials. Having children is an awesome gift. They bring much joy and laughter, and the task of parenting can be rewarding and fulfilling. However, it’s important to acknowledge it can be very daunting at times, the challenges our children face can be different to our own experience, and so raising them can demand every last drop of energy. So let’s journey together…