Monday, May 19, 2014

Resiliency

I'm over at From the Write Angle today talking about resiliency - something we need in this journey to publication. I hope you'll pop over and contribute to the discussion!

Some of the kids I meet don't know how to be resilient. They give up easily, don't know how to stick with a problem if their first attempt at a solution doesn't work. I don't believe humans are born that way. Look at how joyfully a child fails when learning to walk or talk. I think resiliency is a natural trait but sometimes we UN-learn it. There are as many contributing factors to this as there are people. A few I've seen are:
  • helicopter parents. Kids need to learn to solve their own problems. If mom or dad is always doing it they're always going to wait for someone to fix things.
  • absent parents. Not necessarily physically absent, but emotionally. And yes, this contradicts the first point, but it's true. We all need support and kids are no exception. Parents need to find that middle ground.
  • too much passive activity for developing brains. TV, video games, computers, tablets etc. Few of these involve the brain on a truly active level. While there is some decision making in games, it's limited (although I do like the fact that some games require the user to persevere/think creatively and try again and again to achieve the next level!). Keeping that young mind active and mobile is vital. You need practice to become a creative problem solver. 
  • too little physical activity. What better way to learn resiliency than to play on a losing team? Or to be the last one picked in your favourite game? Or to be the smallest one at the playground? Learning to lose with grace and to come back and face the next game is incredibly powerful. 
Failure isn't permanent. Often it's not even a negative - it's just a step on the latest learning curve. Learning to fail yet come back excited to try again is vital.

I think as a group, writers are some of the most resilient people I know. So much to learn, so many ways to be rejected, so many steps to take. And for the most part, we do it willingly and with a smile. Gotta love it!

So how did you learn to be resilient?

49 comments:

  1. Resilience is one of the more important lessons we need to learn in life. I'm not sure how I learned mine. Probably from my supportive mum who never just gave me the answers.

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  2. I guess I've grown to be resilient! Life throws stuff at you and sometimes you have to draw up your big girl pants and push on! Take care
    x

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  3. I'd have to say a lot of kids aren't resilient these days because of those factors.

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  4. Yes, we learn to be resilient not only from our writing, but also through the ups and downs of life.

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  5. Jemi, you make excellent points why youngsters aren't as resilient these days. You've got to learn to fail but you learn to appreciate winning at anything.

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  6. Lynda - she sounds like an awesome mom!

    Old Kitty - those big girl pants really help!! :)

    Alex - sad but true. Thankfully they're still in the minority!

    Natalie - life is all about those curve balls!

    Mason - failing is not the end of the world some people think! It's just a step :)

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  7. My parents were absent emotionally, so I had to fend for myself. I have a tendency to want to give up when the going gets tough, but I never have, so I guess I must be resilient.

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  8. Said perfectly, Jemi. I find, even though I've raised my kids to work hard and see good in a situation that doesn't seem apparent, they tend to toss their hands up when times get tough. I'm not picking on this generation, because lack of resilience has been present in all generations. It just seems to be more prevalent in today's world. Resilience is learned through experiences, wisdom gained from disappointments and/or failures. Who wants to go through that stuff? No one. But we're all better for it on the other side.

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  9. When my son was in 7th grade he ran for president -- and lost. Parents looked at me funny when I said I was kind of glad. He found out it wasn't the end of the world. He saw that people didn't treat him like a loser just because he didn't win the election. It was a fantastic learning experience. This year he ran for LVP -- and won. He'll be a sophomore in HS in the fall. Losing an election two years ago, made this win even sweeter. Resiliency only comes from struggle. So yeah, I'm happy when things aren't always easy, for me OR my kids :)

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  10. Karen - you managed to be strong without support - not an easy thing to do!!

    Sheri - exactly! Tough times make people strong. Getting things too easily can hurt you in the long run!

    Sherrie - exactly! What a great example - I bet he'll be stronger because of what's happened!!

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  11. I think I learned to be resilient by wanting something that was just out of reach - and, having achieved that, trying for something just a little further out of reach!

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  12. Love the R word. I guess my resilience has come slowly over the years. Glad it did because I wouldn't be doing this writing business if I didn't have it.

    Loved your angle on this, Jemi. Great point of view.

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  13. Great post. I grew up in a family of seven and played sports in high school. Believe me, I learned how to lose. Society is trying way to hard to keep the experience of failure from our children.

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  14. Those all count for my parents, except number one. But I grew to be resiliant exactly for that reason because they were absent, passive and not active in any way. I just had to fight for myself in all possible situations ever since I was the smallest baby

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  15. From a teacher's point of view, I have to agree!
    Too much passive activity - kids do not THINK enough! They are too busy living their instant gratification lives... absorbing info at the click of a button...
    Too little physical activity? Tell me about it. *sighs*

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  16. Beth - that's a great strategy! The always reaching means we're always improving!

    Lee - thanks! I was lucky enough to have parents who trusted us to make our mistakes and learn from them :)

    Susan - that's a big family - lots of opportunities to not be the best - awesome!

    Dezzy - not a lot of people in your situation would have ecome as strong as you are. Good for you! :)

    Michelle - I know. Thankfully most kids have parents who know how to do it right :)

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  17. My parents taught me to try again if I didn't get it on the first go. So I just keep on doing that.

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  18. Carol - and that's a powerful lesson to learn! :)

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  19. So true, Jemi...

    We are a resilient bunch... As you said we have to be with so many forms of rejection.... Well said.

    Also true that kids need to learn this and remain resilient to function in the REAL WORLD....

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  20. Michael - and thankfully most do learn to be resilient, but it's really hard on those who don't!

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  21. I, too, learned to be resilient by experiencing failure, and I'm glad I did.

    I work with kids too, and I see both the helicopter parents and the absent parents all the time. Both disappoint me. The kids have so much potential.

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  22. Hey Jemi,

    You bring up some very notable points, my good friend.

    Indeed, absent parents can be also that of the emotional kind. I know this sadly to be true as my ex wife is emotionally and physically distant from my son.

    I have tried to instil in him resilience and to find strength from such sad adversity.

    I would say that the challenges of being a single parent have given me choices. I could choose to moan and say life's unfair. Yet, I choose to continue to resilient from the lessons that adversity has taught me.

    A thoughtful post, Jemi. Thank you.

    Gary

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  23. You're absolutely right Jemi, on so many points. Too much TV, video games, and computers, being just one. But especially the emotionally absent parents. That does damage for a lifetime.

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  24. Shelley - exactly! Learning to cope with winning and losing is so important!!

    Gary - yes! and your son will hopefully take those lessons from you and implement them when he faces the tough stuff!

    Wendy - it really does. Kids need love and support. Life is tough and we all need guidance through it!

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  25. Failure used to bother me, but I like how I learn from it and get right back up, better and stronger.

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  26. Medeia - exactly! It's a step not a destination :)

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  27. Yes Jemi. Writers have to be resilient or they would give up after the first few knockdowns. It's true that many children are no longer learning resiliency, sadly.

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  28. Denise - thankfully most kids are, but I am seeing more and more emotionally absent parents. Sad.

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  29. Oh boy do I agree with you! I love computer games myself (they didn't exist when I was a kid) but kids should NOT be spending so much time in front of a screen. I worry that this generation of kids won't have the ability to think critically because they don't have the patience, not to mention that it isn't even taught in school anymore but don't get me started on that!

    I used to be devastated when I got a rejection letter/email. Now I just shrug it off and move on.

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  30. Marcy - yup! Moving on is the best option! And helping those kids think critically is VITAL!

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  31. I think resiliency was lost when we started putting too much emphasis on protecting little Johnny's self-esteem. When everyone's a winner (trophies for everyone!) and no one is allowed to lose, how do kids learn to overcome disappointment or (gasp!) failure.

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  32. Linda - yup! My kids never wanted the participation trophies and medals. They only wanted ones they'd earned :)

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  33. I do love it, Jemi. Learning to handle rejections and little failures is how we grow and get better at what we do.

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  34. Writers have to be resilient otherwise no books would get published. Great post Jemi!

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  35. Pat - that's exactly it!

    RR - so very, very true! (and thanks!) :)

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  36. This is such a great post! Yay for resilience--and parents who limit screen time, kids who stay physically active, etc! (I like your list, and I agree with your points!)

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  37. Thanks Dawn!! It's scary how screen time can physically change a developing brain!

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  38. You made many interesting points! Being resilient is so important and I learned to be resilient through my failures and the challenges I have had to face. Solving problems and working to overcome them helped me build my confidence.

    I hope we can instill in kids that they can do it and that not succeeding is not only okay, but it will help them because they will work harder and feel better when they do succeed. :)

    ~Jess

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  39. Jess - agreed! My new students are always a little surprised when I want them to share their mistakes and we celebrate them :)

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  40. What a fascinating comment about un-learning the naturalness of being resilient. I think you are right.

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  41. Tricia - thanks! I watch little ones try and try and try again all the time! They've got it right :)

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  42. wonderful post! It's funny how I can easily accept my failures and continue to move forward, but when it comes to my daughter I always want to fix everything. You are right. I'm not giving her the chance to earn success. I will do better.

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  43. Sharon - Glad I could help! And it's MUCH harder to watch our kids fail than to fail ourselves!!!

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  44. It's true, it's hard to be resilient if your parents don't give you the right tools as you grow up...
    I guess I've learned - and am always learning - to be resilient in writing because there's always so much to keep learning!

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  45. Deniz - there really is!! And it's such an interesting journey :)

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  46. Good advice Jemi. You have a great point that failure isn't permanent, but we grow. I'm wishing you a super morning.

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  47. Thanks Maurice! Growing stronger and better is so important! :)

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