The Language of Resilience

Did you know resilience is a language to be learned, no different than teaching the language of a native tongue?

In January of 2017, my husband and I attended an event in nearby Coeur d’Alene, Idaho where this concept of ‘resilience as language’ was introduced to us in the screening of a documentary entitled Resilience: The Biology of Stress and the Science of Hope. The documentary was followed by a Q & A panel focused on promoting further regional awareness of this relatively young field and use of tools developed to treat and prevent Toxic Stress by enhancing the growth of resilience in the emotions of children.

Presented by Idaho ACES (Adverse Childhood Experiences) Project, it confirmed what we had already learned and experienced, and educated us further with insights and knowledge for use in the counseling and life coaching arenas in which we work and minister. It was a well-done, eye-opening presentation.

Though the conference focused on children and thus was geared toward educators, pediatric and adolescent mental health professionals, and ones working with children in faith-based and community outreaches alike – one of the greatest takeaways for us that day landed on several levels:

  • as grandparents with grandchildren
  • as parents with now adult children
  • as the child we each were growing up in our family of origin
  • the context of present family – core and extended, and
  • the adult clients with whom we work (where any or all of the above bullet points might apply)

It was not hard to see the information’s merit and value in the context of any type of relationship, a key point.

The takeaway my husband and I shared that day was this:

It doesn’t matter how young or old you are, there are areas in each of us
that can yet benefit from learning the language of resilience.

With far too much enlightening information to begin to delve into here, I want to leave you today with six resilience tips shared by the Children’s Resilience Initiative. Though I am no longer six but sixty, I could relate – no doubt you may too! – to each of the following ‘vocabulary of resilience’ concepts:

  1. The Ability to Calm Oneself – as CRI related, learning to manage emotions may be THE biggest skill demanded of a child! (or adult). Teach and learn ways to calm down, like taking five deep breaths. (Remember being told to count to ten before flying off the handle? Learn to slow down before reacting).
  1. Expressing Feelings – help your child learn to recognize different emotions, name them, and validate their feelings. (One of the reasons I love sharing the life maps as a tool to help grow in such expression).
  1. Giving a Child Choices – learning that every choice has a consequence is essential, which in turn builds decision making skills. Give a child choices any time you can. (Helps adults too, ie. the art of permission).
  1. Mastering a Skill – children must learn it takes time to develop and master skills. Mastery teaches competence, perseverance and commitment. Help your child master at least one skill. (Grown-ups too!)
  1. Showing Empathy – Do you remember what it felt like to be small and powerless as a child? Put yourself in your child’s shoes. You will be effective in modeling behavior and sensitivity. (We can always grow and expand in this resilience vocabulary! We are never too old to develop this one, if we choose).
  1. Developing Self-Esteem – a child’s self-esteem begins with messages received from parents. Tell them you love them for who they are and NOT what you want them to be. (Woven into healthy life and hope).

Today’s post lends itself to two specific coaching questions with which I’d like to close:

– which of the language of resilience six vocabulary concepts can I / will I practice with someone(s) else?
– which of the language of resilience six vocabulary concepts will I practice for my own benefit / growth?

Happy Learning! Comprende? 🙂

You can reach me here…nope, not for Spanish lessons but for practicing the language of resilience, yes!

~ Nancy

Photo courtesy of Unsplash │ by Sarah Dorweiler

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